For the third consecutive holiday season, the Puyallup Food Bank is joining forces with the South Hill Mall to present its Candy Buffet, starting at noon Saturday (Dec. 12) and Sunday (Dec. 13) and Dec. 18 to 24 in Center Court in front of Dick’s Sporting Goods.
The purchase of a $20 box of bulk candy piled high will feed 96 local families. A smaller box is $15, or a specialty holiday tin is $25.
“Anything that you can find at a high-end candy store, you can find here,” said Shanna Peterson, executive director of the Puyallup Food Bank. “These are great for white elephant gifts, co-workers, teachers and neighbors. It’s great for filling stockings and for making gingerbread houses.”
Some of the single candy items available at the Candy Buffet normally retail for $1 or more, so Peterson said there is a huge savings to the customer.
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“The greatest value is for us to provide nutritional meals to local families,” Peterson said. “It’s sweet all around.”
The Candy Buffet is manned by 10 to 25 volunteers, the candy is donated, and the space is graciously donated to the food bank from the South Hill Mall.
“It’s 100 percent profit to the food bank,” Peterson said.
Peterson said the mall staff has been “absolutely amazing.”
“They are beautiful — a ginormous thank you to the mall,” she said.
Because of the generosity of the mall and the high-demand for good quality candy as a thoughtful gift at an affordable price, the food bank has been able to raise thousands of dollars that go directly back to feeding local families.
“You see the best in people, especially around the holidays,” said Karen Kiilsgaard, a food bank volunteer since 2008 and board member since 2012. “They’re getting candy and we’re getting money to feed people, so it’s a win-win.”
Katrina Hays, along with her son, William Sanitate, 7, and daughter Susana Cruz, 17, were doing their Christmas shopping at the mall Saturday and swung by the buffet to fill up on candy for a family movie night.
“It’s a quick, easy fundraiser and a great incentive for the kids while you’re at the mall,” Hays said.