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Food bank sees new clients double and adjusts to deliver help

Like many food banks, the North County Community Food Bank is especially busy. And new volunteers are stepping in to help.

BATTLE GROUND, Wash. — Battle Ground has one of those all-American main streets. And just off Main Street is a small-town example of how Americans are helping each other out.

The North County Community Food Bank is getting food to twice as many new clients so far this year, as it was at this time last year; helping up to 750 households a month.  

"So it’s an amazing rise, a number of families and individuals that have been laid off, or their time has been reduced," said Liz Cerveny.

Cerveny has been leading the food bank as executive director for eight years. She says normally they have clients come into the pantry and pick out their items. Right now to support social distancing, volunteers must pack it up and deliver curbside.

Credit: North County Community Food Bank

"Here we want them to know that we’ve got all the time in the world, we’ll listen to what’s going on and help you in any way we can," said Cerveny. 

Many of the senior volunteers can't work at the nonprofit right now, to protect their health. But some others who are laid off, furloughed or just working less, are volunteering. Camille Stephens works for the U.S. Forest Service in recreation areas that are currently closed. She is taking time during days on leave to help the food bank.

"It’s been nice to come try and fill in where some older volunteers may not be able to come and volunteer... it’s fun. Everyone here is fantastic to work with and I really enjoyed the past couple weeks of volunteering here," said Stephens.

What's happening in Battle Ground and at other food banks makes a difference to people like Joe, who pulled up in a minivan. 

"It means so much to me because I have a disabled wife and it’s really hard to care for her and I try not to go out to the grocery store so much... it makes it so much easier," said Joe. "I can come here they load everything up for me and it’s only a few blocks from my home." 

"Every day we should be giving from the heart and giving back", said Cerveny. "And then our clients will feel that love and feel that caring and know that this is a safe place for them."  

Normally the North County Food Bank is meant specifically for people in north Clark County. But due to the Coronavirus crisis, right now the food and supplies are for anyone who needs it; another sign we are all in this together. 

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