Many shelves empty at Kennewick food bank
It is not uncommon to hear about the increased need for food donations during the holiday season, but right now, one food bank in our area is struggling to provide food for the growing number of hungry families it serves.
Volunteers at the Harvest Outreach Food Bank in Kennewick say they are dangerously low on food donations.
Some hungry families who regularly visit the food bank say if they don't have food, they have no choice but to starve.
"This is meat, we have none. This is fruit, we have none. This is soup, we have none. This is pancake mix and cereal, we have none" said Bill Staley as he showed us the empty shelves at the Harvest Outreach Food Bank.
Staley runs the food bank in Kennewick - he started the program about 20 years ago.
He says right now, the amount of donations he's getting is almost the lowest he's ever seen, and hungry families are noticing.
"The boxes are emptier. They're easier to carry. Usually, I need help, but now I can do it by myself. So yeah, I can definitely see a difference in them" said Angela Mendoza, Kennewick mother.
At least 40 families visit the food bank each day it is open.
Mendoza, who is a single mom with four children, comes to the food bank about once a week.
She says if there's not enough food for her family, she stays hungry.
"Gonna have to starve a little bit more, cuz I don't even have money to buy myself food" said Mendoza.
Food bank volunteers prepare boxes full of food for hungry families.
But because of the substantial drop in recent donations, those boxes are starting to look more empty.
There's no soup, no cereal, no snacks, no meat and very limited fruit.
"It's a real challenge because you're sitting here wondering can I even open up tomorrow and feed anybody, and that's what goes through my mind a lot. Do we have enough?" said Staley.
Staley plans to stay open every day he can - he doesn't want to turn anyone away.
And as donations dwindle, hungry parents are reminded how much every item counts.
"Just a can will help. It will make a big difference, just one can, anything will help" said Mendoza.
The food bank serves residents in Benton and Walla Walla counties.
The food bank is located at 120 West Railroad Avenue.
It is open Monday - Thursday.