It started in a bookcase, and in the mind and heart of the Reverend Gary Jones. The bookcase was located right inside the door of the parish hall of Saint Andrews Episcopal church on Woodin Avenue. Rice, beans and canned goods were stacked on the shelves and food was distributed as needed. Reverend Jones shared his dream with other Chelan clergy and so the dream grew.
Within two years of that small beginning, nearly 1,000 families were served. Five years later, the bookcase was too small, and St. Andrews purchased the annex—a small building that became both the home of the food bank and Sunday School classes.
Rev. Gary Jones
Through the years, two things have woven a consistent pattern in the food bank’s history. The first is the incredible generosity of the community in providing food and cash to the food bank. Children have had food drives and individuals have donated money. Gardeners have brought their excess produce, and orchardists have donated an abundance of fresh fruit. Volunteers have spent countless hours ordering, preparing, and distributing food. Organizations and businesses have found creative ways to faithfully support our efforts.
The second consistency has been a lack of space. From that very first bookcase to our current location, the food bank has experienced multiple moves. We shake our heads as we remember "the beast" a conveyor built we used to move boxes from the basement of the Eagles building on Woodin Ave, or the store front that was so small only a handful of individuals could be allowed in at a time.
Now, once again, we are growing out of our current “bookcase.” For this reason, the Lake Chelan Food Bank Board is actively looking for a solution to this challenge. We are saving money and searching for either a larger facility or land to build on so we can add much needed storage and refrigeration. Weekly, we serve an average of 120 families which adds up to around 10,000 pounds of food a week. We also deliver to elderly clients who can't get to the food bank. Our numbers always increase in the winter months. Our current space is simply too small to adequately serve and store food.
As we see the needs in our community continue to grow, the dream of Reverend Jones continues to grow as well. We must continue to keep the cupboards of those in need filled with healthy and adequate food supplies. Please consider becoming a part of this legacy by sharing your time, funds and food. You’ll quickly discover the joy that comes from being part of something important to so many in our beautiful valley.