The idea to establish a food bank came from members of the Lamb of God Lutheran Church at Priest Lake. Part of its mission statement refers to the notion “to meet human needs”. Certainly healthy eating is a basic human need. So the food bank was born. With not much more than a few dollars to spend, the first few food bank recipients received less than a bag full of groceries. As the food bank volunteers learned more about food sources available to food banks, the grocery sacks became a little fuller and so did the number of people receiving them increased.
At the outset the food bank was housed at the church rent-free. That was important because it meant that money could be spent on food and not on rent. While the food bank today is not operated by the church, its facility still serves as the food storage and distribution center for the food bank at no cost.
Local residents, who wanted to help, donated some of the basics like used refrigerators and freezers to prevent food spoilage.
Food bank workers were volunteers who gathered food and served food bank patrons. They also used their own vehicles to transport products to the food bank and delivered food to those who could not drive to the facility.
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To provide high-quality food to Priest Lake area residents whose food budgets may not sustain adequate nutrition.
This is accomplished by sourcing, safely handling, storing and distributing quality food products to those in the Priest Lake area who qualify under the guidelines established by the government and not-for-profit organizations who offer free or discounted food.
The Food Bank
The food bank still operates out of the same facility and shares space with the Priest Lake Thrift Shoppe. But things have changed considerably. It has four freezers, three refrigerators, its own truck and trailer and has made modifications to the facility (covered porch) for the safety and benefit of those unloading product and patrons visiting during inclement weather.
All of these upgrades were achieved by passionate volunteers who not only acquire and distribute food but also write grants and conduct fund raisers in support of the mission statement. Our volunteers are passionate about what they do. This is exemplified by the fact that many have been serving for more than ten years.
The Priest Lake Food Bank has grown in structure. It has a board of directors, job descriptions for board members, became a 501 c (3) corporation and is working on bylaws and upgrades to the accounting system.
The USDA and Second Harvest (our primary sources for free and discounted food) audits food bank operations annually. All of the audits have been positive.
Many of our volunteers have obtained food handler certification as part of their determination to provide quality and safe food products.
And most importantly, the food bank is serving the Priest Lake community. While the number of patrons and family members vary with the seasons. On average 40-50 patrons and their families (180-220 persons) visit the food bank twice per month. Many patrons are retired living on fixed incomes or are not able to work. The food bank is proud of its progress but still faces challenges and opportunities. If you have a passion for our mission, specific skills that would be beneficial, or simply want to volunteer in some way, we would like to hear from you.
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