Inyo County’s food banks and others are getting ready for what is expected to be a huge demand for holiday food baskets and, for many, a meal to get themselves and maybe their family through the day.
Inyo Mono Advocates for Community Action will begin accepting applications for the Holiday Food Basket Program next Wednesday, Oct. 5. The program provides holiday meal essentials to low-income households throughout Inyo County, Chalfant and Benton. The holiday food drive, set to begin in November, is also IMACA’s major drive to keep its food bank shelves full until the spring.
Newly hired Food Program Coordinator Glen Cokeley said that according to records, demand for food from those in need continues to grow and grow, while donations have slowed considerably.
“Some people have said they have never seen the food bank shelves so bare,” Cokeley said.
Cokeley explained the food drive involves blue barrels being placed around town in November. Non-perishable food items are welcome, and protein-rich foods such as tuna, peanut butter and beans are always in big demand, he explained. These donations help stock the shelves of the food bank until the next big food drive in the spring.
Cokeley said some area food stores and bakeries already make regular tax-deductible donations of perishable food stuffs to IMACA. Cokeley said he is working on trying to involve more area stores.
Food donations are always accepted at the IMACA office and food bank at 224 S. Main St., in Bishop. Cokeley added that there has also been a huge response to people donating from their gardens. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be a luxury for those pinching pennies, Cokeley explained, and are always welcome.
The food drive is different from donations for the food baskets. The items for the baskets are bought just before they are to be distributed, Cokeley explained. He said this is cheaper than accepting piece-meal donations that would need to be stored. Donations for the baskets are best in the form of monetary contributions. He said some food bank items are used to “round out a basket” but the weight of the basket, the turkey, is purchased at a bulk, discounted rate.
Accepted applications are split between IMACA and the Salvation Army for basket assembly and distribution. There is a huge contingency of volunteers and others that helps buy items for, fill and then distribute the baskets.
Applications for Thanksgiving baskets are due Nov. 2, and Christmas applications are due Dec. 7; they are available at the Bishop office, 224. S. Main St., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday or at the Lone Pine office, 120 S. Main St. on Wednesdays from noon-2 p.m. Applications can be mailed by calling (800) 541-1822. To donate, call the toll-free number or (760) 873-8557.