Thurston County Food Bank: Feeding The Community

Taryn Zard, Staff writer

Volunteers help the Thurston County Food Bank make community service possible. Photo retrieved from

Whether it’s a savory dinner, salty snack, or sweet treat, people everywhere enjoy consuming different foods. While many people hardly give their next meal a second thought, for some, it is not always a given that they would eat that day.. The Thurston County Food Bank offers a solution for those who struggle to get enough food on the table for themselves or their family. With a lot of people still struggling in finding work, the amount of families in need of support have rapidly increased.

The Thurston County Food Bank works closely with local farms and various members of the community to provide fresh produce for their gleaning program; that is, they acquire leftover produce from local farmers. The Thurston Food Bank does not require any form of citizenship, nor do people need to provide proof of income, or lack thereof. 

When asked about the need for food support after COVID-19 regulations started to shut down businesses, Eileen Grigsby, Nutrition Education Manager at the Thurston County Food Bank, stated, “We have seen an increase in demand of our Food Bank services and have also seen an increase in the number of new customers to the Food Bank.”

The Food Bank has a gleaning program set in place to communicate the need for food to various local farms and coordinate the collection of the produce. They also have a “grocery rescue program,” where the food bank partners with local grocery stores in order to pick up various food items to help support the community.

Most often, the Thurston County Food Bank, as well as other food banks and drives, are requested primarily for shelf-stable foods, such as peanut butter, dry pasta, canned soups, and cereal. Although these are nice, a lot of people buy such items in bulk when donating, which means members do not get much variety in what they eat. According to Grigsby, any time they have a variety of products it is really appreciated.

The Thurston County Food Bank is taking monetary donations on their website, as well as physical donations. The food bank has a downtown location center at the Tumwater Warehouse, as well as “Pop Up” Food Banks on Thursdays at Saint Martin’s University and Mountain View Church of the Nazarene in Tumwater, Wash. 

Saint Martin’s University regularly partners with the local food bank to help support the community. They hosted another “drive-through” food distribution center from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday Oct. 23rd,at the base of the grand staircase located at the front of Old Main. Students are encouraged to volunteer on these pop-up dates.

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