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

By SUE RYAN

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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