Nineteen years ago, volunteers saw a need in their small community and started the Pine Strawberry Food Bank out of the back of a car. Now located in the old school gymnasium at the Pine Community Center, volunteers distribute a grocery cart full of food to each family who comes seeking help.
The Pine Strawberry Food Bank volunteers make a great effort to make its emergency food bags the best they can be. Using her impressive shopping skills, Marti Heinert uses the food bank’s monetary donations to buy important staples such as bottles of juice and boxes of cereal. She also purchases the little extras that make Pine Strawberry Food Bank’s food boxes special, like the packets of taco seasoning to go along with tortillas, hamburger, and refried beans for a special Mexican-themed bag. Marti even purchases cans of frosting to go with cake mixes.
A testament to the spirit of community, the Pine Strawberry Food Bank has an amazing amount of support. There is a food collection box located in the post office all year long, and the owner of a town shop regularly donates ice cream. The fire department and school do their part as well, and even the Ponderosa Market provides freezers during the holiday season so that the food bank has plenty of storage for all of the donated turkeys. Shopping carts and have been purchased and donated to the food bank, and when word of the need for a new freezer got out, it didn’t take long before they had a shiny new commercial freezer!
One of the most impressive things about the Pine Strawberry Food Bank is the effort their volunteers make in hunger advocacy. At each distribution, they assure there are articles and information that educate clients about what they can do to make their situations a little bit better. It seems to have had an impact, as several former clients have worked hard to better their situations, and return as volunteers and donors.