The Boistfort Lions Club will be back at it again this Saturday with its annual Walk-N-Knock food-collecting effort.
The event has been going on in the area since 1986 when the club borrowed the idea from the Vancouver Lions Club. Despite the pandemic, the Boistfort Lions Club plans to continue its operations the same as always: visit each home in the Boistfort Valley, knock on doors and ask for food donations.
The club will start its collection effort at 10 a.m. Saturday and Panush said he hopes residents will have their donation items ready when the club arrives. The club has about 25 members and will be assisted by volunteers, all of which are currently quarantining to make sure they are COVID-19-free when they go from house to house.
“We have to be kind of careful,” Panush said. “We’re trying to keep within our immediate families so we don’t have any COVID-19 exposure.”
The club accepts non-perishable items, canned goods and/or home and kitchen items. No home-cooked foods can be accepted. The club also accepts donations, something it has been receiving a lot of lately. All donations go to the Pe Ell Community Food Bank, he said, because it can buy food at cheaper prices than the club can.
The club typically collects around 2,000 pounds of food each year, and Panush attributes that to the club and volunteers visiting every house in the Boistfort Valley. He estimates around 900 people live in their collection area.
“We had a good year last year,” Panush said. “We try to go to every home. It takes a awhile.”
Panush said this collection effort is more important now than it’s ever been, with people out of work due to the pandemic and unemployment rates still high.
One interesting thing he’s noticed is sometimes he’s visited houses where he thought maybe they needed food, only to find those people running back to their pantry and donating a couple cans themselves.
“It gives them a good feeling also,” Panush said. “People don’t understand the whole dynamic of things. When you go to the door and look them in the eye and greet them pleasantly, we have a lot of good people in the world.”
The Lewis County Walk-N-Knock is shifting its event to a Drive-N-Drop project, where people can donate food to participating food banks. To check which food banks will be open Saturday, Dec. 5, locate the nine food banks listed on the Lewis County Food Bank Coalition website (lcfbc.net) to check their hours, location and phone numbers.
The Greater Chehalis Food Bank will be open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. This bank will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 5. Phone number: 360-748-1226.
For more information, contact the Lewis County Food Bank Coalition at 360-330-1519.