Improvements are Always Being Made

A+stack+of+boxes+and+crates+at+the+Arlington+Community+Food+Bank.

Aspen Brisbin

A stack of boxes and crates at the Arlington Community Food Bank.

Gabriel Salvatierra & Victoria Guzman, Staff Reporters

There are more changes than ever in the Food Bank due to the global pandemic that’s encasing people’s lives, putting a pause to future plans and how the food bank will operate when it’s needed now more than ever.

The Arlington Food Bank is located near next to the Boys and Girls Club, which is right between Marysville and downtown Arlington. The Food Bank’s importance has now risen with the global pandemic happening and  now has a %16 poverty level.

Prior to Covid, the Arlington Food Bank would get up to 162 volunteers a month, but now, there’s only 80 to 90 volunteers a month. The Food Bank has lost gotten a big loss in volunteers due to age reasons after Covid hit, adding to the smaller number in volunteers these last couple of months. Hopefully, after Covid concerns ease up, there will be an increase in volunteers. 

The Food Bank had a short closure on March 7, when Covid had just begun to spread and businesses were closing down. Even after its opening, the building is now closed to the public and volunteers have to wear gloves and can only have one task at a time. Rolling racks and bins are being washed and sanitized more often.The Food Bank has been using cardboard boxes even before Covid, they only had to reduce the packaging which is now more environmentally friendly and doesn’t create much waste.

A new program called Meals til Monday delivers supplementary bags of food were delivered every Thursday to schools for qualifying kids. to get food. About 2,010 bags were given out every week, but now the number of bags has increased to 1000-12002,100 since March. Now, there are 1,000 bags being given out per week. The meal kits does not include any cold packs now due to the fact that there is no guarantee the food will be able to stay cold while being delivered. 

In the past, Arlington High School and DECA have done fundraisers for the Food Bank, and the community was also very involved in donating. Although, recently, there has been illegal dumping on the food banks parking lot, leading to it being barricaded. The donation bin’s padlock has also been broken into and trash has been discarded there. This leads to people not being able to donate in the after hours or while the food bank is being unsupervised. Clothing and other items used to be taken back then and taken to Helping Hands, but now, items other than food aren’t allowed to be donated at the food bank. 

Volunteering at the food bank has changed a bit. They don’t allow volunteers who are looking to earn service hours due to court reasons, they want to have people who want to help the community instead of themselves. “You guys can really help change the perception of what’s available and that we’re all in this together.” Carla Rankin Gastineau says, Arlington Community Food Bank executive director.