Arrow Lumber & Hardware continued its longstanding tradition of giving back to local communities by providing the means to enjoy a proper Thanksgiving dinner — complete with a …
Arrow Lumber & Hardware continued its longstanding tradition of giving back to local communities by providing the means to enjoy a proper Thanksgiving dinner — complete with a turkey.
Four pallets’ worth of boxes containing the turkeys — 375 all told — were unloaded from a flatbed truck Monday at the Port Townsend Food Bank as volunteers and organizers waited to load the birds inside, in preparation for the rush to come.
"For many years, they've been giving us 375 turkeys for free, and they deliver them on the 23rd," said Shirley Moss, the manager of the Port Townsend Food Bank.
"It's pretty spectacular what they're doing."
Thanksgiving, Moss said, is consistently the biggest day of the year for the food bank and the donation provided by Arrow is much appreciated. The manager explained that because COVID-19 protocols put a stop to visitors entering the food bank, the plan for doling out the turkeys would be to load up a cart and ask if each visitor
"We don't know this year whether we're going to use them all or not," Moss said. "We might use less because people aren't inviting families in for big meals, or we might use more, that might be their way to take home a turkey and make it feel special for themselves, cooking it up in their own home."
Even though the needs of the food bank this year may be uncertain, Moss said she and volunteers have still gone the extra mile to make sure that anyone who stops by will leave adequately stocked with traditional Thanksgiving fare.
Moss added that the group has been saving butter so visitors can leave with a pound each.
And what would Thanksgiving be without cranberry sauce?
Moss said she went to a local grocery store in advance and purchased $430 worth of cranberry sauce specifically for Thanksgiving at the food bank.
For those wondering, $430 will get you 360 cans of cranberry sauce.
Somewhat surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has actually seen less use of Port Townsend's food bank. Moss said it’s is probably due to expanded benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Moss explained that folks who had previously been signed up to receive SNAP benefits might only get a portion of the maximum allowable benefits, but since the pandemic hit, those families are now receiving the maximum allowable benefit amounts.
She was careful to note, however, that the benefits are being allowed on a month-by-month basis and could disappear at any moment, forcing the food bank to remain stalwartly stocked to handle a sudden wave of SNAP recipients.
For people who have recently found themselves in a situation where they have become food insecure for the first time, Moss said, the food bank is ready for them, completely judgement-free.
"We don't judge anybody; we don't ask any questions about why they're using [the food bank]," she said. "Some people really disagree with that, but we feel that if somebody is taking their time to come to a food bank, they know better than we do whether they need us."
Masked-up and helping Hendricks heave box after box of turkeys through the doors of the food bank were Mike Armstrong and first-time turkey slinger Travis Schryver, both employees of Arrow. Food bank volunteers Carter Swartout, Roland Donanberg-Platt and Jordan Fancher also helped Moss load the boxes in.
In the entryway was Cadian Hendricks, manager of Arrow's Port Townsend branch, who said he was no stranger to the scene before him.
"We just try to meet the needs of the Port Townsend Food Bank," Hendricks said. "It's part of our mission to give back to the community that supports us. It's been a tough year with the whole COVID thing on top of other challenges. So it just feels good."
Hendricks said the special delivery has become a sort of Thanksgiving tradition.
"I come down every year, and it's always something to look forward to," he said. "Every Monday [before Thanksgiving] that I can remember for the last 10 years, I'm down here ... I find myself driving down the hill from the lumberyard going, ‘Alright, it's going to be a good day today.'"
"It's just important that we're a part of this community and we as employees live here, work here and support the community," Hendricks said. "It just feels good to give back."
The Port Townsend Food Bank is located at 1925 Blaine St. and is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays.