It was a day of much celebration for the small crowd that gathered at the Sumner Community Food Bank on June 27. As a bottle of champagne was popped, a crew led solely by volunteers was celebrating the latest addition to their fight against hunger: a forklift.
For volunteer Anita Miller, it was part of what she calls “the Make-A-Wish program” for food banks. A few months back, officials from Trans Global stopped by the food bank while on a tour with the Puyallup/Sumner Chamber of Commerce and asked Miller what her wish would be for the organization.
“I said, ‘We really need a forklift,’” she replied.
And a month later, Miller got the delightfully expected phone call.
“I started to yelp I was so happy,” she said. “My family was really wondering what was happening.”
“I had to come resuscitate her,” Don Weber, another volunteer, quipped of Miller’s reaction.
It was something the food bank had been needing for a while, as the nonprofit’s building location on Main Street requires staff members to cross traffic carrying boxes of food from semitrailer trucks when food is delivered.
“We were amazed when we saw the new equipment,” Miller said.
With the help of Independent Lift Truck of Alaska and Trans Global, the forklift wasn’t only delivered, but many of the volunteers were also trained on how to safely operate their new piece of equipment.
“It makes things a lot easier for our volunteers,” Weber said.
The Sumner Community Food Bank has a simple mission: feed anyone who is hungry. With the help of community members Winco, Fred Meyer, Safeway, Haggen, Mud Bay and Green Mountain Coffee, the organization is able to feed 1,000 individuals and 274 families a month, which equates to about 10,000 people each year.
“Our clients do really well,” Weber said of those that are relying on their monthly bags from the food bank to get by.
The food bank gets so many donations that it often shares what’s leftover with other local food banks in the area.
“It is a community effort to keep people from going hungry,” Miller said. “It is a phenomenal thing to see.”
For more information on the Sumner Community Food Bank, call 253-863-3793 or visit sumnerfoodbank.org.