One of the questions we get the most is “what do I need to do to get food?” People who are new to the food bank wonder about requirements, limitations and procedures. And this post aims to answer all those questions.
FISH helps between 1,000 and 1,300 Kittitas County residents shop for groceries each month in the Ellensburg Food Pantry alone. Through FISH’s Food Bank distribution to Pantries throughout the County, we serve nearly 3,000 individuals. We serve more than 2,000 lunches, through FISH’s Open Table meal service, including Meals on Wheels and Senior Nutrition.
In order to register for the Pantry, you will need proof that you are living in Kittitas County. This can be a state ID, a student ID, a bill with your address, a car registration, or other official document that shows your location. If you are homeless, we ask that you attest to that fact and we will put homeless in our system. If you come from outside the county, we will not turn you away, but you are only allowed one visit.
You will need to fill out a form which we use to enter you into our computer system. It should only take 5 – 7 minutes and you can go through the grocery distribution right away. We do ask for some basic information, but understand that race and income can be hard for some people to fill out and only strictly require names and birthdays.
You are allowed two visits per month and will receive enough groceries to make it through a week, about 75 pounds. Keep in mind that 1 can = about 1 pound when thinking about your options. Please understand that we are a supplemental food bank and are not intended to replace the other benefits that may be available to you. The limitation in visits is in place to help us make it through every month with enough food for everyone.
When you go through the pantry, you will be accompanied by a Grocery Guide. They will tell you what’s available for the week and help you to navigate the small pantry with your cart. Everything is put in boxes and we will help you get it in your car. Please keep cell phone conversations for outside the pantry. We also ask that you keep moving, there are usually others behind you.
There is a bonus shelf with interesting donations that we received. This is available for those who bring their own boxes. Each box corresponds to a shelf, so one box means one shelf and so on up to three shelves. Reusable bags count too.
Every Monday and Wednesday, FISH serves a hot, delicious meal to anyone who is hungry. Beginning in May, those hours will be extended to include Tuesday and Thursday. Each meal is planned to comply with the nutrition standard guidelines established by the State of Washington and a nutrition consultant, so each is flavorful and nutritious. Our cooks are experienced and have worked in all types of food service.
On Wednesday’s we receive a generous donation of pasta from The Pasta Company in Ellensburg. In addition, we have a great little band of musicians and singers who entertain everyone during the meal.
For anyone under sixty, there are no requirements or registration to enjoy a meal and all meals are free. We serve from 12 – 1:00 pm. We will ask that you sign in before you eat in order to keep track of the numbers of participants each day.
Anyone sixty or over is eligible for Senior Nutrition. There are forms available at FISH and someone will be glad to help you register. Meals for Senior Nutrition are served Monday through Thursday. There is registration and a verification of need required for Meals on Wheels.
If you are interested in the Senior Nutrition or Meals on Wheels programs, please call FISH at 509-925-5990 or email [email protected] for more information.
Beginning May 6, FISH is relocating the meal service to Calvary Baptist Church located at 507 North Pine Street in Ellensburg. Meals will be served for Senior Nutrition and for anyone under sixty needing a hot lunch on Monday through Thursday. More information will be available about the new location later this month. Watch FISH’s website for more details.
All of these meals offer a great time to get to know your neighbors and enjoy some time away from home. Won’t you join us?