During the pandemic, staff and volunteers have focused more on solutions than
VANCOUVER — To some residents of Clark County, not knowing when or where your next meal will come from is a daily struggle. The Clark County Food Bank has worked to help alleviate that struggle.
Established in 2006 as a successor to the Clark County Food Bank Coalition, founded in 1985, the Clark County Food Bank has provided residents over 6.7 million meals a year.
Alan Hamilton, a Clark County resident for over 25 years, began as president of the Clark County Food Bank in 2012 when the new food bank facility opened its doors.
“The community was amazing in their support of wanting to make sure that people who are hungry in this community were taken care of,” Hamilton said. “They built a really fabulous facility, and the donors were very generous.”
The 26,000-square-foot warehouse and office space have helped the food bank reach a more significant number of people in need.
“Initially, it was how do we get food in and how do we get food out to the people who need it,” Hamilton said. “What the facility has made possible was more of that. Prior to here, we had a pretty poor conditioned warehouse without a lot of refrigeration and freezer space, and so a lot of food was rejected. So when this facility became possible we were able to have a drive-in cooler and a drive-in freezer, and immediately increase the capacity for food.”
However, with the coronavirus pandemic still affecting residents, it has created unique circumstances for the food bank.
“We have focused a lot less on challenges and a lot more on solutions. What can we do?” said Hamilton. “So we have tried to create as much of an environment that allows for what can we do, and what are the opportunities that we can make happen through COVID.”
It hasn’t only been challenges brought by the pandemic. Hamilton has also seen positivity and kindness as well. “It’s been actually kind of inspiring to see a couple of things,” Hamilton said. “Every day we’ll do home delivery of food to people who for whatever reason can’t get out to get the food.”
Hamilton has found the response from those who receive support from the food bank to be a positive highlight of the food bank’s work during the pandemic. “To see their response of appreciation and what it feels like to be cared for is pretty awesome.”
And it hasn’t only been those who receive food from the food bank who contribute to the positivity and kindness. “Likewise, seeing volunteers who have never volunteered here, but because of COVID they say, ‘Hey I want to do something, I want to help.’ So there is a lot of pretty awesome positive actions and energy that we get to witness here that maybe everyone else doesn’t get to see that we get to, and it’s pretty cool.”For more information on the Clark County Food Bank, such as donating and volunteering, visit: clarkcountyfoodbank.org.