Even with volunteers like Carol Abrahamson (above) who help sort food, the Salvation Army Renton Rotary Food bank is facing a shortage of volunteers and food donations this holiday season.

Salvation Army food bank again facing shortage as holidays approach

Fewer bell-ringing volunteers and empty shelves as holidays near cause concern

This year has been a difficult one for the Salvation Army Renton Rotary food bank, as they’ve seen a drastic decline in holiday-time volunteers and bare cupboards, even as need increases.

The food bank usually has bell ringers during this season who stand outside 28 grocery stores across Renton, Mercer Island and Issaquah, collecting donations and greeting customers. Last year, volunteer bell ringers collected $22,000 from donations, but this year’s numbers might see a dip since the number of people signed up have significantly decreased. With one more week to go for the bell ringers volunteers, the food bank is desperate.

“We have until the 24th, so if people come forth and take one three-hour shift, that would be a huge help, said Martha Barrett, community programs manager. “We’re really hurting.”

That’s not their only need this season. On. Dec. 20, the food bank will help feed needy families in the community by handing out turkey, ham and side dishes, as well as host their annual toy distribution. However, the turkey freezer is looking bare as they’ve only collected 22 turkeys as of Monday, and nearly 900 families have signed up requesting a holiday meal.

“This is the one that people most look forward to because it provides gifts to the children,” said Barrett. “Right now, things are tough. Every little bit helps.”

Last month, Barrett said that the Renton community has always showed up whenever needed, and the community proved her words correct during Thanksgiving. The food bank needed to provide nearly 600 families with turkeys, but had only met half their goal a week before Thanksgiving.

On Monday, Barrett reported that their Thanksgiving cry for help was heard and their need was met, though she hoped citizens could open their hearts one more time.


For inquiries regarding volunteering or donating, email Martha Barrett at martha.berret@usw.salvationarmy.org or call 425-255-5969.

The Salvation Army Renton Rotary Food Bank is open 9 a.m. – noon, 1 – 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, and is located at 206 S. Tobin St.

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