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Benefit concert helps stock shelves at food bank

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By Brenda Sexton-The Courier-Herald

The Enumclaw and Buckley food banks are singing the praises of Plateau arts organizations that raised more than $2,800 to split evenly between the two charitable organizations.

In addition to collecting nearly 600 pounds of nonperishable food items during a benefit concert in October, the Plateau's musical groups pulled in approximately $1,800 in cash donations.

Those donations were paired with a $1,000 Wal-Mart community service grant. Earlier this month, the Enumclaw Kiwanis Food Bank and the Buckley Kiwanis Food Bank each received a check for $1,400.

“That's a pretty generous donation,” Buckley Food Bank manager Rose Clark said. She said there are a couple of groups in town that make monthly donations that over the course of year reach that amount, but “Fourteen hundred dollars, we don't usually receive many that large at one time.”

Clark said the funds will be used to purchase items like eggs, margarine, meat, milk and peanut butter, items that make up the monthly sacks the food bank assembles, but don't usually materialize in organization food drives. The monetary donations are also turned into gift certificates for patrons to use at local grocery stores.

“It fills the gap between what we receive in donations from all these organizations and group food drives,” Clark said.

She said the Buckley Food Bank receives a lot of community support. It is the recipient of regular United Way donations, plus donations by Windermere Real Estate and other Plateau area organizations. She mentioned Arrow Lumber's recent donation of hundreds of turkeys, stuffing and potatoes that will help meet the needs of local families for the holidays. And the number of individuals who donate.

“It's really a very generous and giving community,” Clark said.

The Buckley food bank serves approximately 220 to 240 families a month. That number, Clark said, fluctuates, but tends to go up by 10 to 15 families a year.

The Kiwanis Food Bank in Enumclaw serves approximately 225 families, or 1,000 people, a month.

Food bank organizer Roy DalSanto said the arts donation will be used to purchase items like cereal and other staples, “during later times like March and April when not as many food drives are going on.”

Like Buckley, the Enumclaw food bank is kept full by generous community groups and individuals.

Cascade Foothills Chorale President Trudy D'Armond said it was a wonderful gesture by the performing arts community to come together and showcase the importance of the food bank and its needs.

“Not just this time of year, but all year long,” D'Armond said of the food banks needs. “The holidays are a great time to be giving but it's important to extend that giving all year long.”

The concert featured the Gateway Concert Band, Cascade Recorder Consort, Lighter Tones (the Enumclaw High jazz band), Plateau Community Orchestra, Craig Gammon and the Cascade Foothills Chorale.

“Not only did these groups give of their time, but they made monetary donations,” D'Armond said. “They gave of their heart and it was a beautiful thing. The people and performers were incredibly generous.”

Brenda Sexton can be reached at bsexton@courierherald.com.

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