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Mycole Cardona, left, and Terry Cobb of Cobblestone Catering have delivered  over 2,000 meals for Oregon Veterans Home staff in April. The meal deliveries were donated by the construction company Whiting Turner, who hired Cobblestone Catering, to prepare and deliver  meals Monday through Friday throughout the month.  Staff thankfully enjoyed a culinary trip around the world with spaghetti, burritos, chicken salad sandwiches, wraps and more. Many of the staff have been working long shifts, and a great lunch has been something to look forward to. 

Food banks throughout the Gorge are seeking donations to support their continued services during the current high-demand and the long-term civic and economic recovery period to come.

The Oregon Food Bank Network has seen a 20-30 percent increase in need statewide in the last month — and the Columbia Gorge Food Bank, which serves Wasco, Sherman and Hood River counties, is seeing a similar increase, said a press release. They’re expecting the increase to continue as unemployment rises.

Across the river, Washington officials estimate that demand for food banks statewide has doubled during the pandemic, while donations have decreased by approximately 70 percent.

Washington Gorge Actions Programs,  a nonprofit that serves as the lead distribution agency for the food banks in Klickitat and Skamania counties, is currently accepting monetary donations via their website, wagap.org/donate, and food/product donations are being accepted at all four of the nonprofit’s food bank sites: Monday and Wednesday in Stevenson (683 Rock Creek Drive; call ahead at 509-493-2662 to arrange a time), Friday between noon and 2 p.m. in Goldendale (112 East Main); Wednesday mornings in Klickitat (92 Main Street); Monday and Wednesday between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. in Bingen (115 W Steuben Street).

Because donations from the Bingen office are distributed between all four sites based on need,

Nutrition Program Director Janeal Booren recommends that people drop off their donations in Bingen.

The USDA is providing sizable donations of staple items, Booren said, so “easy to fix” snacks and meals such as boxed mac and cheese or Hamburger Helper are their biggest need.

Both the Columbia Gorge Food Bank and FISH Food Bank, which serves Hood River County and Mosier, are currently accepting monetary and food/product donations: Individual food donations to the Columbia Gorge Food Bank may be dropped at The Dalles Fred Meyers in the food drive barrel at any time (call the office at 541-370-2333 to arrange drop-off if you have a large food donation), and FISH accepts food and product donations at their Hood River site, 1130 Tucker Road, between 8 a.m. and noon, Monday, Wednesday and Friday (email fishwebguru@gmail.com if you have large donations, so that people can be on-hand to help).

FISH is asking for non-perishable, nutritional items, as well as non-food items such as soap, toilet paper, personal care items and grocery bags, as well as pet food. A full list of needed items, and items that can’t be accepted, is posted on their website, www.fish-food-bank.com.

“We have plenty of volunteers at this time, and don’t need additional volunteer help. We’ll let everyone know if this changes,” reads a statement on FISH’s website; but FISH is encouraging people who are able to donate and want to help to use their PayPal, linked on their website, www.fish-food-bank.com.

Columbia Gorge Food Bank is in need of staple items, particularly: Peanut or almond butter, rice, tuna, canned or dried beans, pasta, whole grain cereal, shelf-stable milk, cooking oils, and canned tomatoes.

Cash donations to Columbia Gorge Food Bank can be mailed to 3610 Crates Way, The Dalles, OR 97058 or made online at give.oregonfoodbank.org.

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