Adapting: Stayton Community Food Bank fulfills demand, addresses growth

October, 2018 Posted in Community, Food And Drink

By Mary Owen
When cupboards are bare and money is scarce, the Stayton Community Food Bank becomes a lifeline.
“We have been active now for more than 35 years, and thanks to strong, on-going community support, more individuals and families than ever are getting help with putting food on the table,” said Sheila Baker, SCFB board member.
Each food box is prepacked with staples such as tuna, chili, pasta, tomato sauce, soup, cereal, canned fruit and vegetables, and is supplemented with eggs, margarine, milk, peanut butter, rice, dry beans, meat, bread, baked goods, fresh or frozen fruits, and vegetables, Baker said.
“We had a $25,000 grant from the Mid-Willamette Valley United Way that covered July 2015 through June 2017,” she said. “The grant was used to make sure high protein items such as tuna, canned chicken, chili and eggs were always available.”
According to the annual report, SCFB was able to control food purchase costs to $18,200 for this fiscal year, less than the $27,138 spend the last fiscal year. Other expenses remained stable, so overall expenses totaled $33,975 for the year, compared to $40,295 for the last fiscal year.
The Stayton Community Food Bank served a monthly average of 345 households, representing 1,316 persons. November was an almost overwhelming month with 384 households and 1,460 persons served, record highs in the food bank’s 30-plus-year history. The numbers showed a 10 percent increase from year to year in the average monthly number of families and a 6 percent increase in the average monthly number of persons, according to the report.
Combined, the 2017-2018 fiscal year again produced record numbers with a total of 3,867 visits, representing 15,204 people, according to SCFB’s annual report.
Overall, the number of households grew by 2.5 percent and the number of people served increased by 4.6 percent.
“The community is always there for us when we need help,” Baker said. “The families who come in for food are appreciative of both the food and the friendliness of the volunteers.”
About 51 percent of SCFB’s food comes at no cost from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Oregon Food Bank, and Marion-Polk Food Share. About 28 percent comes from the local community through the annual food drive or direct donations of food or cash.
“The annual food drive – supported by the Lions Club, the Stayton Fire District and the Kiwanis – is coming up in November/December,” Baker said. “This is a critical event to keep families fed and our food costs down.”
Last year’s drive garnered just over 17,000 pounds of food, according to Baker, which is “almost 40 percent of the direct food donations we received from the community last year.”
Cash donations totaled $46,075, up from $37,881 for the previous fiscal year, “reflecting strong, ongoing community support,” the report stated.
“We are also working toward a new location as our current building is too small and not functional for the number of clients we serve and the amount of food we receive, store and distribute,” Baker said.
“The move will be a big challenge, especially making sure clients are informed. Also, more space will mean a higher rent payment, so community donations will be more important than ever.”
The Stayton Community Food Bank is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization, serving residents of Stayton, Sublimity, West Stayton, Marion and rural Aumsville.
“We hope the local communities see the good results and continue the support they have shown to the food bank for all these years,” Baker said. For more information, call SCFB at 503-769-4088.

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