Filled Up!

Bags of nonperishable food donations destine for HOPE of Rainier’s food bank fill this SUV in front of the Rainier Grocery Outlet Store. In all, 2,611 pounds of food items have been donated so far this month in the campaign

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Organizers of the HOPE of Rainier have sorted and filled the shelves at the food pantry with two large donations conducted through the local Grocery Outlet.

HOPE of Rainier is a branch of the Columbia County Pacific Food Bank. The donations are critical to fill the increasing public need to help feed low income families and the elderly, according to the food bank operators.

The HOPE board of directors gave Grocery Outlet a list of food items that they needed. Grocery Outlet launched the donation drive in late June putting together bags of food that cost a little more than $5 each. Customers can purchase the bags of food to be donated and receive a coupon for $5 off their next shopping trip, or they could choose to give a cash donation at the checkout.

So much non-perishable food items have been donated through the Grocery Outlet campaign, it took HOPE of Rainier Board Chair Lisa Soule and her husband two trips in their SUV to the store at 215 W. B Street in Rainier, to collect the items. The first load, picked up on July 1, netted 1,354 pounds of food. For the second load, picked up on July 6, the couple received 1,257 pounds in donations.

The 10th annual Grocery Outlet food drive, 'Independence from Hunger Campaign,' continues this month at the Rainier store and the chains 350 outlets in the region, as well as through online donations.

Those who wish to participate donate $5 or more in-store to the campaign. In return, the donator receives a coupon for $5 off a purchase of $25 or more. Participants can also buy food in-store and donate it directly.

Donations from the campaign stay local and are donated to area food banks, according to the Grocery Outlet’s website.

In addition to canned and boxed food for the pantry to be used on a regular basis, the pantry is looking ahead to Christmas food box item donations. The items needed for that effort include canned vegetables, fruit, pie filling, cranberries, yams, cake mixes, stuffing, gravy packets and more.

HOPE of Rainier also conducts a school backpack program offering area children meals that include items such as tuna, fruit cups, granola bars, mac and cheese, chili, and ravioli.

To donate, or for more information, call HOPE of Rainier at 503-556-0701. The food bank is located at 404 E. A Street in Rainier.


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