Image Credit: Lana Franklin

Pasco Riverview Community Service Food Bank Grows

Pasco Riverview Community Service Food Bank has a long history of providing services to the Tri-Cities area. In 2012, about 50 families were served weekly by the food bank. However, as the population has grown, so have the needs of local families. More than a decade later, almost 900 families are being served weekly.

“Pasco Riverview Community Service Food Bank is a true ‘community’ organization,” shared Stan Arlt, co-director of Pasco Riverview Community Service Food Bank. “Little did we know that the food bank operations would become so dynamic after all these years.”

Last year, the food bank distributed 1.4 million pounds of food with the help of two donated trucks: one that hauls eight pallets of food and another that hauls four pallets. Along with the truck, they have two forklifts: one donated and one obtained from a grant.

The bulk of food received is from three Washington food suppliers: 2nd Harvest in Pasco, Northwest Harvest in Yakima and Blue Mountain Action Council in Walla Walla. Additionally, supplemental food is purchased from donations and grant funding to supplement nutrition.

The food bank is open every Wednesday and run solely by a team of volunteers. “The group we have continues to work like a well-greased machine,” said Arlt. “Our operation is very fast-paced now with 200 families signing in for food per hour and 50 new families registered each week. On average, we now are handing out food to more than two and a half families per minute.”

The process involves several steps. It begins inside the facility with the shelf food, canned food, spaghetti and dried beans and rice put into the food boxes. From there, the boxes go on a roller conveyor outside to be placed in a food wagon. The wagons are then taken to tables of food where produce, cold cereal, chips and bread are added. After the boxes are filled, the wagons are queued and ready for the clients.

They serve the community for five hours every Wednesday, always maintaining a friendly welcoming atmosphere.

“What the future holds for our operation hold we do not know,” shared Arlt. “We will follow God's leading. Some weeks food supplies are limited as our food suppliers indicate, there is less food available to them to distribute. However, we move forward in faith — it seems like when we have needed something, the Lord has provided.”

Featured in: May/June 2023