Each month, Thurston Community Media (TCMedia)’s Mission Nonprofit connects with local organizations and agencies that are making positive impacts in our communities. This month, Mission Nonprofit host Robert Kam sat down with Mary Beth Cline, Heather Kapust and Bethany Sano of the Thurston County Food Project.
Celebrating their 10-year anniversary this April, the Thurston County Food Project was started based on a similar program in Ashland, Oregon. The program has three goals:
- To provide a regular supply of food to hungry neighbors
- To create new neighborhood connections and strengthen the community
- To serve as a model for other communities
To fill hungry bellies, they collect bags of nonperishable food from Thurston County residents every two months. All the residents have to do is leave a bag on their porch to be picked up on collection day. The food goes directly to others within our own community who need it. When they started, they collected 26 bags of food.
Today, they collect over 700 bags of food every other month.
For residents, it’s a really easy way to give back to those in need directly in their own community. “A neighbor gives a bag to a neighbor and asks that they…fill the bag…and then it is put on their porch on the second Saturday of every even month,” explains Mary Beth Cline, who founded the Project. Then, a Neighborhood Coordinator picks up the food and its distributed through the Thurston County Food Bank.
“One major benefit of this project is to build community,” says Heather Kapust. “Because before that, our neighborhood is a very big spread out neighborhood association, and a lot of folks didn’t know their neighbors and this has really helped build that community.”
The Thurston County Food Project website lists what products are most needed by the Thurston County Food Bank, which sometimes includes non-food items like hygiene products. “The programs the Food Bank does reach so many facets of our community,” says Bethany Sano, “it’s really amazing how far they go. There are kids in school who get reduced lunch and every Friday they get to take home food from the Food Bank to bring home to their families so that they can eat for the weekend. The outreach the Food Bank does with the food we bring in is amazing.”
To learn more about how to get involved by donating food or helping as a Neighborhood Coordinator, watch the entire video above and visit the Thurston County Food Project website.
To celebrate their anniversary, they are having a barbecue at the warehouse during their June pick up date. They would love to have a band come and play. If interested contact them.
You can watch Mission Nonprofit on channel 77 on Sundays at 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m., Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. You can also watch on TCMedia.org, Video On-Demand or our Roku channel. To learn more about what TCMedia does, visit the Thuston Community Media YouTube channel or the TC Media website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.