A growing number of Hood River County residents are seeking emergency meals through the FISH food bank.
Volunteer Peggy Bigelow said the number of families seeking assistance rose by eight percent from 2000 to 2001. According to FISH records, the number of children served rose by 11 percent.
"You just never know how many people will come in from day to day," said Bigelow.
Irene Best, food coordinator, said FISH is currently running low on small bottles of cooking oil, oatmeal and saltine crackers. She said these and other food items can be dropped off at 1102 Pine Street during normal business hours from 4-5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If donors are unable to make deliveries during those times, she said someone is usually at the office stocking shelves or is willing to be available by appointment if called at 386-3474.
She said a new collection drive offered by two area churches also offers residents a chance to donate without leaving home. One Saturday a month, children from Our Redeemer Lutheran Church and Valley Christian Church are wheeling their red wagons door-to-door to ask for contributions of either canned or boxed food items.
As demand grows for FISH services, so does the inventory and Best said the non-profit agency is seeking larger quarters and hopes someone will step forward to meet that need in the near future.