George Dooley, left, and Edward Alders with the Sequim Valley Lions Club work together to load a vehicle with food during the Family Holiday Meal Bag distribution program on Nov. 20. Dozens of volunteers like them helped load up Thanksgiving meals for 900 families. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

George Dooley, left, and Edward Alders with the Sequim Valley Lions Club work together to load a vehicle with food during the Family Holiday Meal Bag distribution program on Nov. 20. Dozens of volunteers like them helped load up Thanksgiving meals for 900 families. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Thanksgiving meal distribution helps 900 families

Organizers anticipate continued, growing need

Normally dispersed over three days, Thanksgiving meal distribution saw dozens of community volunteers provide food to about 900 families in about three hours on Friday, Nov. 20.

“It’s absolutely a community effort, and a great example of everyone coming together,” said Andra Smith, Sequim Food Bank’s executive director.

Organizers of the annual Family Holiday Meal Bag distribution program shifted to Carrie Blake Community Park Friday to better accommodate COVID-19 regulations such as proper social distancing.

Smith said they’ve provided about 800 families with Thanksgiving meals in past years, but an increase was expected.

Families waited in vehicles up to 90 minutes for food, with lines stretching from the Albert Haller Playfields in the northern part of the park,to the Blake Avenue/Washington Street intersection.

“To have this many people come through in four hours, it’s eye opening of the need,” Smith said.

Each family received a gift card voucher towards a turkey or ham at Walmart, pumpkin pie, cans of dry goods, stuffing, five pounds of potatoes, a gallon of milk, a dozen eggs, produce and more.

“We did not run out of food; we anticipated 1,000, but had enough for 1,100 just in case,” Smith said.

Volunteers also delivered 20 holiday meals to Sequim homes, too.

Community volunteers and groups that helped with distribution included: City of Sequim,Carlsborg VFW Post 6787; Food Bank volunteers; Rotary Club of Sequim; Sequim Community Church; Sequim Sunrise Rotary; Sequim Seventh-day Adventist Church; Sequim Valley Lions Club, and Trinity United Methodist Church.

Vehicles lined up throughout the three-hour span on Nov. 20 to receive free Thanksgiving meals from the Family Holiday Meal Bag distribution program in Carrie Blake Community Park. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Vehicles lined up throughout the three-hour span on Nov. 20 to receive free Thanksgiving meals from the Family Holiday Meal Bag distribution program in Carrie Blake Community Park. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Need

The demand for the holiday meal program, showed nonprofit food providers like Smith that “the need is there,” she said.

“It’s going to get worse as we move into the next tier (of the coronavirus),” Smith said.

“We talked about it from the beginning (of the pandemic) and this is happening. This is showing us how it could be on a permanent basis.”

Demand for food resources has remained strong at the COVID Relief Food Care Package program at Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave.

The latest pick-up on Veterans Day served 523 families, organizers said.

Pick-ups continue 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays on Nov. 25, and Dec. 9 and 23.

“What we see on Wednesdays is that (the pandemic has) affected people all across the community,” Smith said. “We’re seeing larger families in need now that under normal circumstances we would not have seen.”

Sequim Food Bank, 144 W. Alder St., will be closed the day after Thanksgiving (Friday, Nov. 25), but resumes regular hours on Saturday. Its regular hours are 1-4 p.m. Mondays, and 9 a.m.-noon Fridays and Saturdays.

A similar program as Thanksgiving is being considered for Christmas with a time and location to be determined.

The food bank continues not to accept food donations at this point because of COVID-19 regulations, but residents can donate financially for food at www.sequimfoodbank.org or contact food bank staff 360-683-1205 or sequimfoodbank@olypen.com.

Kathy Strozyk with the Sequim Sunrise Rotary helps Rod Lee, commander of the Carlsborg VFW Post 6787, load up bags for some of the hundreds of families driving through the Family Holiday Meal Bag distribution program. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Kathy Strozyk with the Sequim Sunrise Rotary helps Rod Lee, commander of the Carlsborg VFW Post 6787, load up bags for some of the hundreds of families driving through the Family Holiday Meal Bag distribution program. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Calvin Barnard, senior vice commander of Carlsborg VFW Post 6787, places a pie in a bag for a family at the Family Holiday Meal Bay program on Nov. 20. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Calvin Barnard, senior vice commander of Carlsborg VFW Post 6787, places a pie in a bag for a family at the Family Holiday Meal Bay program on Nov. 20. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Vehicles lined up from the Albert Haller Playfields to Washington Street to receive food from the Family Holiday Meal distribution program. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Vehicles lined up from the Albert Haller Playfields to Washington Street to receive food from the Family Holiday Meal distribution program. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Volunteers Steve Allen and Bruce Winters check in a participant of the Family Holiday Meal distribution program on Nov. 20. Organizers estimate about 900 families received food packages. Below: Vehicles lined up from the Albert Haller Playfields to Washington Street to receive food. Sequim Gazette photos by Matthew Nash

Volunteers Steve Allen and Bruce Winters check in a participant of the Family Holiday Meal distribution program on Nov. 20. Organizers estimate about 900 families received food packages. Below: Vehicles lined up from the Albert Haller Playfields to Washington Street to receive food. Sequim Gazette photos by Matthew Nash

More in News

Juneteenth steps toward state holiday status

By Sydney Brown WNPA News Service Rep. Kirsten Harris-Talley, D-Seattle, often sees… Continue reading

Olympic Medical Center’s vaccine supply is steady

Olympic Medical Center has received a consistent supply of COVID-19 vaccine and… Continue reading

COVID cases confirmed in people in 30s, 40s

While COVID-19 case rates remained in the moderate category, North Olympic Peninsula… Continue reading

Clallam, Jefferson counties making headway on vaccine shots

More than a quarter of the Clallam County population — 26 percent… Continue reading

Police accountability bills push through Legislature

By Sydney Brown Washington State Journal Outrage over deaths of citizens in… Continue reading

Measures looking to limit executive powers die in state legislature

Legislation would have required Governor getting input from lawmakers during emergencies

Fire at South Third Avenue residence sends man to hospital

A Sequim resident was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with… Continue reading

Sequim Police Blotter
Police Blotter — Feb. 24, 2021

The weekly police blotter includes incidents that occurred in the City of… Continue reading

Peninsula College PC touts medical assistant program

Peninsula College’s Medical Assisting Program offers students the opportunity to gain professional… Continue reading

Most Read