Ellensburg’s FISH Community Food Bank and Yakima’s Catholic Charities were recent recipients of a semi-truck load of food commodities to support local families, according to a news release. The truck, dispatched from Welfare Square in Salt Lake City, contains several pallets containing food staples such as flour, potato pearls, mayonnaise, pasta sauce, green beans and peanut butter.
The shipment is part of a larger project of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints assuring that food banks across the country have the supplies they need in these trying times.
Local spokesman, President Ron Gibb said, “We are grateful for the members of the Church who donate faithfully, both financially and in-kind, to make sure services and supplies are available across the world”
“FISH’s food pantries provide groceries for more than 40% of the residents of Kittitas County. It’s only through community support, such as the generous donations from the LDS church that we can meet that demand,” said Peggy Morache, FISH’s Executive Director. “The church’s level of caring and commitment has never been more important, as COVID-19 increased need and use of the food pantries.”
This delivery augments the work local volunteers have been doing for the past two months through a partnership with Chelan Fresh and the USDA Farmers to Families program. Over 1,600 boxes of food have been given to families in the community through two recent drive up, no-questions-asked events.
According to the USDA website, “USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is partnering with national, regional and local distributors, whose workforces have been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels and other food service businesses, to purchase up to $3 billion in . . . products from American producers of all sizes. . . .Distributors will package these products into family-sized boxes, then transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need.”
Each box distributed contained eight pounds of potatoes, 10 pounds of apples, and three pounds of onions.
Today funding for this extensive effort is provided by donations from church members. One Sunday each month, members of the church go without two consecutive meals and give generously the money they would have spent on food to the church as a “Fast Offering.”
Welfare Square, is owned by and locate near headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah. Welfare Square is the largest concentration of Church-owned welfare facilities. Buildings include a cannery, a milk processing plant, a bishops’ storehouse, a thrift store, an employment center and silos where wheat and other grains are stored. The Bishops’ Central Storehouse is a 570,391-square-foot warehouse where commodities of food and supplies are stored until distributed to areas in need.
In addition to the Central Storehouse, another site houses mill and pasta facilities covering 85,650 square feet. Its white grain silos hold 16 million pounds of wheat and can process 200,000 pounds of grain in a single day. The mill and pasta plant produce white and whole wheat flour, cake mix, gravy mix, potato pearls, granola, hot cereal, rolled oats, rice and pinto beans.
The church also operates processing plants throughout the U.S. and Canada. These facilities package and bottle food grown on church-owned farms. They also process other commodities such as soaps and detergents. All of these goods are distributed to bishops’ storehouses, and many are available at home storage centers.
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