‘It goes quickly’: FISH Food Bank can still use donations


News staff writer

January 3, 2007

The clock struck 4 p.m. on Friday at the Concordia Lutheran Church on Pine Avenue.

Volunteer Donna Fitch pushed the door open to let in those already waiting in line. The occasion wasn’t a concert or religious day but one of the three days per week the FISH food bank is open to help the hungry.

FISH stands for “Friends in Service to Him” and is a food bank run by area churches. Fitch and her husband, Scott, were there to participate as part of the Asbury United Methodist church’s outreach.

“I’ve been doing this for about 25 years,” Donna said. “Before I did this I drove for Meals on Wheels.”

She and registrar Jan Dutton reminisce. They both brought their kids to help when the kids were still children. Now their children have grown into adults but the women still help as the needs of hungry people have not diminished.

They come once every eight to 10 weeks as the entirely volunteer organization rotates among its member churches. The FISH food bank is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 4 to 5 p.m. and until 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. Families and individuals can come once a month to get a food box.

Once inside the door, Marilyn Clark and Dutton register the people. They shop from a list of items, deciding on whether they want liver or hamburger, corn or tortillas or both. After they hand their slip off to the Fitch’s, the couple whirl and buzz about the basement room filling the order.

“I do it to help out, to give back to the community,” said Clark, who volunteers for St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

Besides helping when the food bank is open, volunteers come to bag food and deliver boxes to shut-ins around the community.

Each family also gets a sack of groceries donated by shoppers at Rosauers Market. Piles border tables in stacks three to four high. Donna said people are always generous during the holidays.

“But it goes quickly,” she said.

Donna finishes one order and before beginning another, hands a sack to a man. She tells him to take all the bread he wants as it won’t last through the three-day weekend.

Food bank coordinator Ina Holman began working with FISH three years ago. She said the number of people rises and falls but that it ranges from 10 to 28 per month.

“But that can be up to 100 people because some of those are families with more people in them,” she said.

The food bank had its origins about 30 years ago in the basement of the Hood River Hotel before its renovation. It moved later on to a small house down the street from its present location.

Volunteers are welcome as are donations. The food bank can always use non-perishable goods that store well on shelves.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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