Thurston County Food Bank

by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS

During the winter holidays, people’s thoughts turn to feasting: stuffing both turkeys and themselves. Thoughts also turn to giving: sharing the season with friends who need an invitation to dinner, and with families who can’t afford a meal with all the trimmings. No wonder it’s the biggest season for donations to the Thurston County Food Bank.

“Our business is like retail,” said Robert Coit, the food bank’s executive director. “It’s all about the fourth quarter.”

While the food bank operates like a grocery store, with patrons choosing what they like to eat, the holiday box—like the traditional holiday dinner—is pretty standard. “It includes all the things you’d expect: stuffing, pie filling, potatoes, apples, vegetables, gelatin, muffin mixes, all of that,” Coit said. “We encourage people to think about what they put together for their holiday meal. We’re looking to replicate that for people who aren’t able to buy their own food.”

It also includes the turkey, ham or roast beef. “The single most expensive thing is the meat,” Coit said. “Between both holidays, we typically spend about $22,000 buying turkey every year.”

The bank, which distributes about 3,000 boxes before Thanksgiving and about 2,000 before Christmas, is also collecting school supplies and books that parents can stuff into stockings made by local sewing groups. Donations for holiday boxes and stockings are needed by Dec. 9, with boxes distributed a few days before Christmas. Of course, the food bank also accepts donations of food—and money—year-round. “People still need to eat after the holidays,” Coit said.

What: Thurston County Food Bank

Where: Client Services Center, 220 Thurston Ave. NE, Olympia;
Warehouse and Distribution Center, 2260 Mottman Rd. SW, Tumwater

When: donations accepted 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekdays at the Client Services Center;
8 a.m. – 4 p.m. weekdays at the Tumwater warehouse

Learn more: 360-352-8597 | Food Bank