The Path to the Pantry

Monday: 10:00am - 2:00pm, Wednesday: 8:30am - 12:00pm & 5-7pm
north county food pantry

Path to the Pantry

Elk Sentinel September 2023

GOOD NEWS! Last month we reported that Second Harvest would no longer deliver food to rural food banks like the North County Food Pantry. Second Harvest has since rescinded that plan, so weekly deliveries will continue! When we thought we would have to make alternate arrangements to pick up food from Second Harvest, this community really stepped in to fill the gap! Four residents with commercial driver's licenses offered to help, as did a community member who offered his commercial truck with a lift. This support is a tremendous blessing to both our clients and our volunteers. Each month 40-plus volunteers  distribute approximately 25,000 pounds of food to nearly 300 families in our community. We are indeed grateful.

We welcomed a number of new volunteers over the past months. They serve in a variety of capacities (inventory, shoppers, maintenance, social media, freight). Thank you Don, Sara, Sarah, Katie, Cylk, Jennifer and John. We couldn’t do what we do without you.

Thanks to Catholic Charities Food For All program and Eden Gardens, we are receiving donations of fresh produce each week. We have distributed cucumbers, peppers, squash, berries, herbs, and peppers just to name a few. Our own community garden has added carrots, raspberries, greens, radishes, and cauliflower to our offerings. Distributing healthy and fresh foods is one of our highest priorities.

One of the “niceties” that distinguish our food pantry is the availability of a light meal for clients and volunteers. We are looking for someone to cook every other Wednesday mornings. If you like to cook for a crowd (40-50 people), we could use your help. Supplies are provided and we have a well stocked kitchen on site.  It would be a blessing if this person could be “on-call” to substitute for other volunteer cooks on occasion. We are also in need of a volunteer on Monday mornings from 8-10 to help with set-up. Please call Sandy at 509-292-2530 to learn more about these opportunities to give back to our great community!

Tom’s Turkey Drive with all the fixings for a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal is right around the corner. Thanks to John who offered a BIG truck to pick up the food this year. In the past we have had to rent a truck for this purpose, so this is a huge gift to the Pantry and families who need food assistance in our community. More details to follow…

Lastly, we will be closed on Monday, September 4 for Labor Day, but open at 8:30 AM on Wednesday, September 6.

Elk Sentinel February 2023

When the North County Food Pantry asks…our community responds! Garden volunteers Nola, Peter and Valerie have stepped forward to provide weekly cleaning of the Pantry’s public areas. Once planting season starts, however, they will return to gardening activities. So, we are asking again for someone to help with this vital need. It would require 60-90 minutes per week and involves light housekeeping. Please contact us if you can help.

Our neighborhood grocers generously support the Pantry on a regular basis  with food donations. Watson’s Market in Riverside makes a weekly donations of items like condiments, sweets, bakery items and dairy. The new Dollar General Store on Hwy 2 just north of Elk-to-Highway Rd. is offering milk, yogurt and eggs. These protein-rich foods are often in short supply to Pantry clients. We are grateful to partner with local businesses like these.

The Riverside High School Future Farmers of America FFA class sponsored a winter clothing drive and selected the Pantry as the beneficiary. We have a great selection of winter clothes for men, women, teens and children. Clothing items are displayed by gender and size on hanging racks. (We need donations of plastic clothes hangers too.) Stop by to help keep your family warm during these cold months. 

The Pantry has said goodbye to one of our Monday shoppers; John is returning to the workforce in the non-profit sector where his leadership skills and compassionate spirit will be put to good use. We will miss John, but welcome Linda who returns as a Pantry volunteer, but in a new role. There are a variety of ways to serve at the Pantry, so please contact us if you are interested in joining our team.

Elk Sentinel January 2023

As we turn the calendar to a new year, the North County Food Pantry wishes to acknowledge the generosity of so many in our community who support our mission. We provide much more than food to families and individuals in Elk and Chattaroy. We are a "gathering place" for neighbors to share a warm meal and lively conversation. Our clients shop for food items that satisfy their family preferences. We offer an assortment of household goods and clothing, and necessities like pet food, cleaning supplies and paper products. None of this would be possible without supporters and friends of The Pantry. We wish to thank these people and organizations, who have supported us with gifts of time, treasure and resources:

Catholic Charities has awarded a Rice Bowl Grant in support of our community garden for many years. This year they increased that award so we could automate our irrigation system and expand our green house.
Spokane Fire District #4 brought in nearly 500 pounds of food at year end
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints donated nearly a ton of dry good staples to the Food Pantry this fall.
Riverside School District donated excess milk that was unused at the winter break.
Riverside High School Future Farmers of America organized a cold weather clothing drive that we are distributing to clients.
Don offered his handyman skills and made some much needed improvements to our facility.
Saint Joseph Parish in Colbert WA has been a generous financial supporter of The Pantry.
Volunteers Jack and Julie deliver rescued bakery items every week that are procured by Caritas, a faith-based non-profit.
There have been countless neighbors who have made cash contributions to help fund The Pantry, and others who have donated beef, produce, and eggs.

40+ volunteers work tirelessly to keep our Pantry and our Community Garden operating. Our team-of-volunteers are grateful to Joe and Sandy who manage the North County Food Pantry as a labor of love. Because of their leadership, the mission of The Pantry remains the highest priority!

If you have interest in joining our team of volunteers, please call Sandy at 509-292-2530. Your efforts will be greatly appreciated.

Elk Sentinel December 2022

This time of year brings new clients to the North County Food Pantry, and escalating food and fuel prices mean even more people are seeking assistance. Traditional sources have scaled back in their contributions to us, but the local community has filled the gap!  Food donations from the Elk VFW, and local churches have boosted our inventory in time for the holidays. It’s never too late to organize a food drive at your place of work, worship or recreation. Financial gifts from donors are also greatly appreciated. Funds can be designated for specific use at The Pantry. For example, Catholic Charities has a tradition of supporting our Community Garden with a financial gift designated to garden projects. The North County Food Pantry is grateful to all who have supported our local food bank with gifts of food, funds, equipment, and their valuable time.

As has been a tradition for many years, The Pantry distributed 200+ Thanksgiving dinners as part of Tom’s Turkey Drive in late November. Cars lined up at the Country Church of the Open Bible (CCOB) for this drive-through event. It took many local volunteers to facilitate this give-away….those who transported the thousands of pounds of turkeys to The Pantry, those who unloaded our rental truck (truck rental was an additional expense for us this year), those who packed individual bags of groceries, those directing traffic, and those loading groceries into client vehicles. A special shout-out to the Riverside HS Girls Varsity Basketball team for their help! It was a festive night, thanks to the work of many, many volunteer hands.

On Halloween night, The Pantry participated in “trunk or treat” at CCOB. This was a great community event with lots of activities (and treats) for families. That evening The Pantry distributed 30 pre-packed bags of groceries that had been assembled by members of the Riverside HS Honor Society. How encouraging it is to see students in our community volunteer their time helping others.

It’s not too late to purchase 2023 wall calendars from The Pantry for just $7 each. This is a yearly fund-raiser for The Pantry. Stop by and pick one up for yourself or a few for giving. While you are at The Pantry, browse through our racks of gently-used quality clothing. We have a good inventory of warm coats, accessories and footwear for men, women and children. And don’t forget to look through our collection of Christmas decorations to make your home “merry and bright”!

Lastly, we are still in need of someone to do light cleaning of our North County Food Pantry. Also, two of our volunteer “shoppers” have left the area, so we are really short-handed on Mondays from 10-2 (saying goodbye and thank you to both Marge and Linda!). If you can help, please contact Sandy at (509) 292-2530 during regular hours, or leave us a message.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year to our Neighbors and Friends.

Elk Sentinel November 2022

The North County Food Pantry will once again be a distribution point for Tom’s Turkey Drive. A decades long tradition, families in need are provided a ready-to-cook complete turkey dinner. No sign-up is necessary. This drive-through event will take place on Monday evening, November 21 from 5:30-7:00 PM. Volunteers will direct traffic through the parking lot of the Country Church of the Open Bible to the Food Pantry in Elk (40015 N Collins Rd.). The efforts of many make this a wonderful community celebration. Special thanks to the honor students from Riverside HS who will be packing grocery bags full of Thanksgiving fixings that afternoon. Other volunteers will be directing traffic, loading groceries and welcoming people who need assistance in order to celebrate this holiday. Families may carpool to the event, but we can only distribute 2 complete meals per vehicle.

The harvest from our community garden is nearly complete. Local gardeners have added to the bounty of fresh produce we have been able to give Pantry clients this fall. Our garden even produced a 116 pound pumpkin (pictured above) and another at 99 pounds!

Following a beautiful and warm fall, we are now experiencing cold winter temperatures. We are most appreciative of Bubba’s Brew Crew, for Coffee on Hwy 2 for promoting a winter coat drive that benefits clients of the Food Pantry. Donations of coats, gloves, and insulated clothing is always appreciated. These items can be dropped off at the Pantry during regular business hours: Mondays 10-2 or Wednesdays 8:30-12:00.

In addition to clothing, we have home goods like dishes, linens, and small appliances FREE for those who can use them. A wide assortment of Christmas decorations is also available, so stop by and take something to “make your spirits bright” over the holidays.

The Pantry is selling beautiful 2023 calendars as a fundraiser this fall.  The cost is $7 and the proceeds help fund our operation.

Pantry clients may soon notice a slight decrease in pounds of food they receive from us. Food donations are down nationwide, transportation costs are up, and reduced manufacturing all negatively impact inventory at local food banks like ours. We are diligently seeking alternative food sources, but are more dependent than ever on the generosity of neighbors in our community. If your church, social group, youth organization or employer can help with a financial donation or a food drive, we would be grateful. No one in our community should ever go hungry.   

Lastly, we are in need of a volunteer to clean the office/kitchen/bathroom/and reception area of our Pantry. Weekly cleaning would be most appreciated, and we estimate the job would require about 90 minutes per week. Please call Sandy if you can help with this task (509) 292-2530.

Your donation can make a big difference today!


North County Food Pantry