Volunteers, organized by St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Washougal, will be filling food boxes, and collecting donations to assist local families
Camas and Washougal community members are being asked to make a difference and impact on the lives of local school families who need help with meals over the summer months.
IMPACT CW (Camas-Washougal) volunteers, organized by St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Washougal, will be filling food boxes, and collecting donations to assist local families on Sunday, June 11 starting at noon at Parker’s Landing Historical Park at the Port of Camas-Washougal. Adding to the fun, the community and volunteers are invited to enjoy a free BBQ lunch and an outdoor concert by the Camas-Washougal Community Orchestra.
“Although many people are conditioned to make food donations around the holidays, there is another critical need at this time of year,” explained Beth Raetz, Impact CW committee member and church office secretary. “We are targeting families in the schools who receive free breakfast and free lunches and are a part of the backpack programs. When school stops for summer those meals end. These kids may get into a summer meal program but there could be several weeks before they start. These meals help to bridge that gap.”
The food boxes will be filled with pre-selected and pre-purchased food this year. “Any donations of non-perishable food that comes in at the event will be donated to stock the local Treasure House food pantry,” Raetz explained. “Specifically, they have a need for high protein items such as peanut butter, tuna, and chili items.”
Now in its ninth year, IMPACT CW continues to seek new donors, volunteers and draws enthusiastic participants back each year to help.
“We received a flyer a few years ago about this food box packing event that families were invited to help out,” said IMPACT CW Volunteer Andy Dryden. “We didn’t know anyone participating but looked for opportunities to help our kids get involved alongside us in the community. We showed up at the event and were welcomed by one of the friendliest groups of people we’ve ever been a part of. Our kids had a blast, felt empowered to help, and learned about the importance of serving our neighbors.” Dryden, and his wife, Heidi, and sons Johnny (10) and Eli (12) have been back to help every year since.
When asked what he liked best about the event, Johnny Dryden said, “The really nice people and good cookies.”
“This year we are continuing to invite groups to get involved and help out,” said Raetz. “We have community organizations, like the Lions Club, scout troops, church groups, businesses and families volunteering. It is so wonderful to see families with children of all ages helping to fill up boxes.”
For those unable to attend the event who want to help, they can make a financial gift (to pre-purchase all the food and gift cards.) Donors can use the “Go Fund Me” (https://www.gofundme.com/f/impact-camaswashougal-2023) or by check made out to St. Matthew Lutheran Church and mailed to 716 Washougal River Road, Washougal, WA 98671. Checks can also be dropped off at the church Tuesdays-Fridays 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
“We’d like to thank the Camas-Washougal Community Chest for their generous donations to Impact Camas-Washougal for the past few years,” said Raetz. “Without their continued support, we would not have been able to help as many families as we have.”
School districts are currently working to identify those families who could use some help. “If you or someone you know could use some extra assistance with a food box and local grocery store gift card and are not already on the schools’ active backpack program, please contact your school counselor or principal as soon as possible,” said Raetz.
For more information, contact Beth Raetz at the church office at (360) 835-5533 or firstname.lastname@example.org / impactcamaswashougal.org
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