Othello Food Bank to add service for seniors

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | September 10, 2020 1:00 AM

OTHELLO — The Othello Food Bank will start a new service for seniors, opening just for them on Monday afternoons beginning Sept. 14. Food bank director Sharon Mobley said the food bank will be open to seniors from noon to 3 p.m. on Mondays, and the service will be available by appointment only.

“If it works, we’ll probably add another day,” she said. It’s one way the food bank is trying to adapt during a strange year.

“We’re just trying to best serve our clients with all this craziness,” Mobley said.

The food bank is partnering with the Adams County Health Department to help deliver food to people quarantined as a result of exposure to the COVID-19 virus. There’s also a partnership with the Othello Church of the Nazarene, where volunteers deliver food boxes to homeless people in the Othello area. Mobley estimated church volunteers distribute about 20 boxes each week.

The food bank also provides services to the town of Hatton and north toward Potholes Reservoir.

The food bank is open from noon to 2:30 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday. Mobley said it’s been a busy summer, but the number of people served by the food bank dropped slightly at the end of August, with the start of harvest.

In a normal year the food bank offers a summer program for children, but summer 2020 wasn’t normal. Othello was one of two food banks in eastern Washington selected to participate in a program that provided Walmart cash cards for food. That program may have encouraged more families to visit the food bank, Mobley said.

Even though it’s been busy, the food bank has been able to meet the needs, thanks in part to Othello-area residents. “I’m not lacking for food,” Mobley said.

“The growers and the farmers - they’ve called me and said, ‘Sharon, do you need this (produce),’” she said. A local farmer has been donating produce during the coronavirus pandemic, and said he would just keep on donating when the pandemic ended.

The food bank also benefits from federal programs that provide surplus commodities, and from privately-owned grocery stores that donate food. Since it’s harvest, local gardeners have been dropping off some of their surplus crop. The Mattawa and Othello food banks also have a partnership.

Donations of money are accepted. “There are things we have to pay for,” Mobley said. “You’ve got to keep the lights on.” The food bank’s truck is on the road four days per week, she said, and all of the associated expenses are paid by the food bank.

People can donate at P.O. Box 152, Othello, WA 99344.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.

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Cheryl Schweizer/Sun Tribune

Othello Food Bank director Sharon Mobley collects items for a food box. The food bank will start a seniors-only day next week.

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Cheryl Schweizer/Sun Tribune

Alex Zesati of the Mattawa Police Department was among the volunteers helping residents fill out census forms at a drive-through event Friday.