Riverview Community Bank, White Salmon Thriftway and The Enterprise are partnering to make an impact on hunger in western Klickitat County.
The three businesses are participating in a program created in Clark County nearly 20 years ago. The program, Fill-A-Bag, was first piloted in the Gorge by the Stevenson branch of Riverview Community Bank in 2005. During that campaign, over $5000 in food and cash donations were raised for needy in Skamania County.
This year, Riverview Community Bank has expanded its Gorge coverage to include the communities of Bingen-White Salmon and Goldendale. Food and cash donations collected will then be distributed by Washington Gorge Action Programs (formerly KSDC).
"The need is greater than ever," said Riverview's White Salmon Branch Manager Dale Connell, noting food normally purchased by GAP at discount prices is going to assist Katrina victims. As a result, GAP is buying food at or near full price, with significantly diminished purchasing power.
In addition, the number of needy remains high. During November 2005, 582 food boxes were delivered to 458 families in the White Salmon and Bingen area.
Connell said the program is very straightforward. Participants just need to fill up a bag with nonperishable grocery items, take the bag to the local Riverview branch, and drop it in a barrel. Cash donations need to be made through bank tellers.
Bags were inserted into the Nov. 17 issue of The Enterprise and are also available at merchants in Bingen and White Salmon.
Food items currently needed include baby food/formula, canned meats, canned stew, canned tuna, canned vegetables, peanut butter, diapers, instant potatoes, macaroni, oatmeal, pancake mix, rice, soup, and unsweetened cereal.
Although the program's emphasis is Nov. 16 through Dec. 9, Riverview will continue to accept donations through Christmas and beyond. Donations made through Dec. 9, however, will be matched by Riverview Community Bank.
Anyone with questions can contact Connell at Riverview, 493-3449.