Yelm Community Services serves Thanksgiving with a generous bonus

By Daniel Warn / [email protected]

Yelm Community Services filled Thanksgiving with fresh food and turkey this year in a special Thanksgiving distribution on Tuesday, November 22.

Cindy Marchand-Cecil, executive director of Yelm Community Services, said the food bank plans ahead and keeps enough Thanksgiving essentials each year to have more than enough for all Yelm families in need.

“If you think about your traditional Thanksgiving meal, we provide all the food that goes with it,” Marchand-Cecil said. “We have the turkey and everything that goes with that meal. “

As of Wednesday, November 17, the nonprofit had 250 turkeys, and more are on the way.

“We’re starting to get several trucks of food right now (for the holidays),” Marchand-Cecil said last week. “We just store them in every nook and cranny that we have right now. We try to focus on getting the right amount of fresh food.

The food bank receives all kinds of fresh vegetables, from potatoes and onions to eggs and, of course, turkeys, among others.

But Yelm Community Services doesn’t stop at the traditional Thanksgiving bonus.

“We’re also trying to have a good amount of culturally appropriate food because not everyone has a Thanksgiving meal the American way,” Marchand-Cecil said. “So we have options for people. “

And there is no rest for Yelm Community Services staff and volunteers at this time of year.

“We’re always very busy this time of year because you’re just trying to coordinate all the different food streams, where they’re coming from, how much you get and what kind of what person,” she said. . noted.

This year, the association received a grant from the federal government for the purchase of a new cold room and a walk-in freezer. Marchand-Cecil said it really helped the organization as they didn’t have enough storage space in the past.

“It’s been one of our long term goals since we built this building in 1996 … so it’s really good,” she said.

The new appliances are now in use and have provided all the space the food bank needs to put food on the table this holiday.

The grant also provided an awning, she said.

The facility had a canopy over part of the front of the food bank, but now there is a canopy that spans the entire food bank and thrift store building and along the bank’s warehouse. food. It also provides cover for the new cooler and freezer and above the loading dock, where all the food is loaded.

“That way when all this food that’s been coming in from the start of the COVID pandemic, if you can imagine, it’s just come out by the time, because we have a food bank behind the wheel right now,” said Marchand-Cecil. “Now we have a place to shelter it so it doesn’t rain or whatever. So our volunteers don’t get rain either.

Currently, the food bank attracts 35 to 40 volunteers to each distribution, with everyone on deck for holiday gifts.

“A lot of them take care of the background bagging of all the vegetables that come in,” said Marchand-Cecil. “We have the packages of dried cranberries, then the frozen rolls. Most of the time, when you buy in bulk from Seattle food sources, it’s in bulk as it was originally meant to go to restaurants.

The food bank needs volunteers to take the bulk shipments and make bags of assorted items for distribution.

The food bank receives food resources from the Washington State Department of Agriculture, local donations, and other sources.

“Our agency started in 1971,” she said. “And so the one continuous thing that we’ve always done is our food bank. He was talking about the need then and the continuing need now because people will always have problems that you don’t know (or) that you can’t see. And you just have to try to do your best.

The Christmas distribution will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, December 22 at 624 Crystal Springs St. NW in Yelm.

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