The Treasure House Food Bank Backpack Food Program desperately needs help from the Camas community to feed local kids in need. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a serious food shortage.
Director of the Downtown Camas Association Carrie Schulstad said, “Families rely on the school’s free and reduced lunch programs to help make ends meet in their food budgets each week. Since the pandemic began and the kids were home from school, the burden on the families has become greater, especially since some parents are working less hours or are unemployed during this time.”
At the beginning of the month, the Treasure House started the Have A Heart Backpack Food Drive, which runs until February 14th.
The drive is collecting mac and cheese, chili, peanut butter, jelly, tuna, pasta, soup, and fruit cups.
Shulstad said, “The Treasure House staff said in a typical time they served about 50 kids per week but during the pandemic it has jumped to 175 kids per week. The demand is intense and their typical donations were not covering need.”
Local Camas merchants have rallied together and offered their support by encouraging people to drop off food items at their businesses.
“In mid-January, the DCA (Downtown Camas Association) received an email from the Treasure House saying they were in desperate need of further donations. We asked our downtown merchants if they would be willing to do food drives each quarter of the year they all said yes. February’s food drive has the Have A Heart theme and is being added to by Fuel Medical Group’s efforts to encourage giving for Random Acts of Kindness Week,” Shulstad said.
The following businesses are participating in the food drive: 4Ever Growing Kids, Arktana, Caffe Piccolo, Cedar St Bagel Co, Juxtaposition, Lily Atelier, LiveWell Camas, Natural Healthy Pet, Papermaker Pride, The Wild Hair, Therapeutic Associates-Camas, and Fuel Medical.
Treasure House Director Nancy Wilson said, “Because of the pandemic some community members have stepped up their efforts to donate food.”
Some participating businesses, like Fuel Medical, are offering incentives to Camas merchants who drop off food at their office. Every merchant that participates in the food drive will be entered into a giveaway, which includes a digital marketing package.
Senior Marketing Manager at Fuel Medical, Robin Sanz, said, “As a local business ourselves, we are proud to support our community by being a food donation drop-off site and offer business advisory services from our professional team for this promotion.”
She added, “Our hope is that the Camas merchant promotion will encourage local businesses to donate food to the Treasure House while also supporting small business growth and awareness with a complimentary business consultation and customized digital marketing campaign.”
Fuel Medical strongly encourages community members to continue donating and supporting those in need. On February 15th the company is going to “stuff the van” with the donations it has received.
Receiving regular donations will drastically help improve the Treasure House’s food shortage situation.
Shulstad said, “Donate regularly! You can donate food to the Treasure House or the Family Community Resource Center directly or donate money so they can use that to purchase food and supplies as needed. We are also doing quarterly food drives in Downtown Camas to help bolster the program so you can donate at participating merchants during those times.”
“We’re working to develop channels so the giving is more convenient and top of mind,” she added.
The Treasure House is relying on the Camas community to step up and help support local kids during this time of need. It will continue to hold food drives throughout the rest of the year.
Shulstad said, “Next food drives will be in May, August, and December. We will do them for as long as there is dire need at the Treasure House, which serves both Camas and Washougal communities.”
For more information about the Have A Heart Backpack Food Drive visit https://downtowncamas.com/have-a-heart-backback-food-drive.