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Pioneer partners launch food bank

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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On March 10, 14 local community members gathered at Pioneer School to learn more about food insecurity and how it impacts students' ability to succeed in school. One out of two Pioneer students rely on the federal free and reduced meal program. A variety of local community groups including the Pioneer Community Kiwanis, Harst-ine Island Women's Club, Harstine Island Community Club, Bridge Community Church, Harstine Island Neighborhood Watch, Pioneer PTA and the Pioneer School District are partnering with Mason Matters to start a satellite food bank. Other partners are Fresh Start Market and Deli, the Agate Store, the Mason County Democratic Party and Mason General Hospital.

The Mason County Democratic Party made a commitment to addressing food insecurity issues in Mason County. They have been supporting the North Mason Food Brigade program. This program is designed to help individuals and families who are unable to access existing food bank services. Access barriers can include: 1) living in geographically isolated communities with little or no resources to drive to larger sites or 2) working during usual food bank hours. The Food Brigade is meant to extend, and not duplicate, existing food bank services. The Pioneer Food Bank is the next rollout of the Food Brigade model.

The Pioneer community is eligible to participate in the federal government commodities program, known as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). Mason Matters is completing

the application on behalf of the community. Pioneer School District will serve as the food distribution site. Most food distribution operations will be coordinated with regular school events such as Parent-Teacher Conferences and PTA activities.

The first distribution is scheduled from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on April 1 before the PTA movie night. The community is organizing a Food Drive to support this initial distribution. The Food Drive is scheduled for March 18 through the 31. The Food Drive is focusing on nutrient-rich foods such as whole grains, fresh or low-sugar produce, and canned meats. Meals are based upon empty caloric foods such as instant noodles, macaroni and cheese, or sugared cereals may resolve the hunger pains but do not feed the mind. Kids need healthy bodies and healthy minds in order to succeed in school. Supporters of the Pioneer Food Bank are committed to the idea that the healthy choice is the easy choice. Food Banks can play a critical role in this goal.

Food donations can be dropped off at the following sites: Pioneer Primary and Elementary Schools, Fresh Start Market and Deli, Agate Store, Bridge Community Church, Joe Snyder Law Office at 125 N. 5th Street in Shelton, and Mason General Hospital. Cash donations can be directed to Mason Matters, PO Box 1580, Shelton 98584. For further information or an application for the Pioneer Food Bank, please contact Tara Rigby at ruthtara@hormail.com.

Original Publication Date: March 24, 2011



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