Linda Swarner, Kenai Peninsula Food Bank executive director recently showed the Kenai Rotary Club the difference between an average can of food donated to the Food Bank, and what they can purchase through the Food Bank Agency of Alaska in Anchorage for a dollar cash donation. "As an agency member, we can access food there at nine cents a pound for shipping and handling. That food includes canned vegetables, breakfast cereals, and dried non-perishable food products that are delivered to us from Anchorage and placed on our shelves. We then make those items available to our agencies for 18 cents a pound for shipping and handling and that is a way that we can gather funds to function as a food bank," explained Swarner. That's a multiplying factor of nearly 10 times the amount of food that can be bought with a dollar donated and the average cost of one can of beans bought and donated to a food drive.
However, Swarner emphasized how much the Food Bank appreciates all the groups, businesses, and organizations that have canned food drives, "If people have excess food in their pantries that they want to give to us that's great, but we always welcome cash donations whether at the Food Bank or given to the business or organization that may come by your door," said Swarner.
The Food Bank has also been having classes to help people become more self sufficient, and according to Swarner there will be a special holiday nutrition class put on by the Cooperative Extension Service Tuesday, November 11th. The class will focus on making gifts for the Holiday's in the home as well as how to prepare cost efficient appetizers, entrees, and desserts, "We hope that this will help our clients or members of the public that wish to attend have a happier and easier holiday season with their new knowledge," added Swarner. With a limited budget for personnel at the Food Bank, Swarner says they are always dependent upon and looking for new volunteers, "We can't serve the over 1,700 meals a month in our soup kitchen and distribute all the food products to our clients with out the help of our dedicated volunteers," said Swarner. For more information about the holiday nutrition classes or to volunteer, stop by the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank at 33955 Community College Drive, or call 262-3111.
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