At 8 in the morning on Sept. 20, Al Smith was first to pull up and unload his Food 4 Thought donation on the curb of the LDS church across from Liberty Lake Elementary. It was the start of the flood in what proved to be an amazing outpouring of community generosity for the homeless students in school districts throughout the Greater Spokane Valley.
A total of 508 volunteers from the Kiwanis Club, the Central Valley High School leadership class and the seven wards of the Spokane Valley LDS Stake combined for 1,257 hours of service and approximately 7,500 pounds of food. LDS missionaries and youth from the stake formed an assembly line to pass the bags from car to ramp to back of truck. As the bins filled to overflowing, more volunteers transferred bags to banana boxes so they could be stacked atop the bins.
Meanwhile, Food 4 Thought founder Pat Dockrey stood in the parking lot with a handful of envelopes that finally grew beyond his ability to hold.
“I’ve been getting donations in the mail all week,” Pat explained.
Many volunteers brought in donations along with the food. Some residents pulled in just to write a check. Cash donations for the drive totaled $5,213. Thanks to the success of the drive, Dockrey and his Food 4 Thought volunteers are now able to pack take home bags for over 200 of the 800 homeless kids in Spokane Valley school districts with more schools being added to the program every week.
The project was one of many undertaken by LDS stakes across the Spokane Temple District as part of the Day of Service, a nationwide program launched in 2009 to honor victims, survivors and responders in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The goal of the program is for citizens to set aside time each September to benefit and strengthen their respective communities.
The Food 4 Thought drive was made possible by the hard work of volunteers and the generous donations of many local organizations. Liberty Lake Kiwanis funded the discount printing provided by UPS Store in Liberty Lake. Safeway, Albertsons, and Fred Meyer donated bags and made sure their shelves were stocked with the items on the Food 4 Thought list. Meanwhile, Tierpoint printed posters and the Liberty Lake Splash and Valley Current donated space in the paper to get the word out. Central Valley High School was gracious enough to let one group of volunteers operate out of their parking lot. Spokane Valley Partners, the local community center that features a well-utilized food bank, sent a truck and driver to transport the donations.
When Frank Davis, the truck driver with Valley Partners, arrived at noon to see the loaded truck, he said, “This is exciting,” and then walked around to check the tires and axels for clearance. “I think we can make it,” he announced, as the door rolled down on the evidence of the considerate hearts that exist within the Liberty Lake, Otis Orchards, Greenacres and Spokane Valley communities.
To learn more about Food 4 Thought and how to help, visit www.libertylakekiwanis.org.