Food bank donations take annual after-Christmas dive

Posted: Monday, January 10, 2000

The season of giving may be over, but for many Juneau families the need remains.

Organizations such as the Southeast Alaska Food Bank, which provides food for distribution to needy families throughout the year, traditionally see a shortage in donations after the Christmas season.

``This time of year, historically, has been the time when we've received the fewest donations of food, and also of money,'' said Linda Daniel, president of the food bank board. ``There generally is a dropoff in giving during this time of year, and of course it's the time when the need for food is most acute.''

Cold weather and fewer opportunities for employment can make families' situations more urgent, Daniel added. Donations are especially crucial at a time when the need for food is rising.

``All our member agencies have been reporting that the need seems to be greater this year,'' Daniel said.

Demand is especially great for canned and packaged goods that won't spoil - and for peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, soup, canned fruit and other childhood staples.

``Think of things that kids especially like,'' Daniel said. ``We go around every morning and pick up from all the grocery stores in town and many of the other delicatessens, so we're getting perishable food - produce and milk products and the bread that was baked yesterday. But people who are taking a food box home need to have a can of tuna.''

The food bank is well stocked with canned vegetables and chili, but if anyone collected those items in preparation for Y2K, the bank will be glad to take them off their hands, Daniel said.

``Here in Juneau I don't think we had quite as much of the bunker mentality as in the Lower 48 on people stocking up,'' she said. ``But if there are people who have things stacked up to the point where it's a storage problem, oh, we would be delighted to take it off their hands.''

With the increase in need and tendency for donations to drop, the time is right for a scout troop or small group of office workers to do a food drive, Daniel said.

``A food drive doesn't need to be a hundred pounds of food or anything like that,'' she said. ``Just an office that has maybe eight people in it could do a great job.''

Financial donations would be welcomed as well.

``What we can do with that money is go to the grocery stores and say, `What sort of deal can you give us on two cases of tuna?''' Daniel said. ``It's not going into administrative overhead at all. It's going into filling the spaces on the shelves.''

To contact the Southeast Alaska Food Bank, call 789-6184. Food can be dropped off at the bank from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the St. Vincent de Paul complex at 8617 Teal St., near Honda Hut behind the Nugget Mall.

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