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Washington Military Dept. donates 1,417 pounds to local food bank


Military Intelligence Soldiers from D Co. 898th Brigade Engineer Battalion
stock the shelf at the Tillicum/American Lake Gardens Community Center.

Washington Military Dept. donates 1,417 pounds to Tillicum-area food bank

Spokane employees donate extra 625 pounds in Medical Lake

Most of the donations at the food bank in Tillicum, a small community in the city of Lakewood, come in around the holidays. This time of the year, the shelves can get pretty sparse – but the demand doesn’t decrease.

“We’ve been putting out more food per family than we’ve been getting lately,” said Janet Harper, the secretary/treasurer of the food bank at the Tillicum/American Lake Gardens Community Service Center.

Military Intelligence Soldiers from D Co. 898th Brigade Engineer Battalion spent about an hour on March 6 delivering 1,417 pounds of food donated by the soldiers and state employees of the Washington Military Department.

A Flickr slideshow of photos.

Donations were made in collection spots around the Emergency Management and National Guard buildings on Camp Murray, as well as the National Guard buildings on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Last year, the department collected about 800 pounds of food for the food bank.

In addition to the donations gathered at Camp Murray and JBLM, an extra 625 pounds of food and personal hygiene items were gathered at the Spokane offices of the Washington National Guard and donated to the Medical Lake Food Bank. Combined with the Camp Murray donations, that's more than 2,000 pounds collected this year.

“As in the past, donations will support the Tillicum/American Lake Gardens Community Center – which helps feed low income families living in the neighborhoods surrounding Camp Murray,” said Major General Bret Daugherty, The Adjutant General in charge of the Washington Military Department. “Last year was a particularly rough year for the center. The good news – the center is bouncing back. But it kicked off 2015 with entirely empty shelves, and is in desperate need of food donations. When citizens ask for our help – the Washington Military Department is known to respond.”


Claudia Fisher stands with the donated items at the Tillicum Food Bank.

Claudia Fisher, a program specialist at the Tillicum Food Bank, says it gives out food for about 400 meals per week.

“All these boxes, this food will be about a month and a half worth of food for those families,” Fisher said. “This is going to go a long way to doing some real good around here.”

Harper notes that 96 percent of the children in the community get free or reduced lunches. “This area is the lowest income single parent family community in Pierce County,” she said.

Harper says the community of Tillicum feels landlocked for many low-income residents.

“And a lot of our people don’t have vehicles,” Harper said. “People come here with strollers, their children’s wagon, just to put their food in. Because it’s such a low income community, access to food is an issue. Food stamps only go so far – but they still need to get to the food since there are no grocery stores here. That makes our food bank so important. This has been a real shot in the arm for us, for the Washington Military Department to be so generous to us in bringing this food to us.”

Harper says there’s hope on the horizon for the Tillicum area.

“There are a lot of things planned for this area but it will take dollars and years,” Harper said. “This is the center – we are the center of this community.”

The food bank is located at the Tillicum/American Lake Gardens Community Center, 14916 Washington Ave SW, Lakewood. The center is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for anyone who wants to drop off food donations.


A group photo in front of the Tillicum community center.