What started as one local business gathering food donations 20 years ago has grown into Palouse Cares, which last year gathered 19 tons of food and $30,000 for local charities.
Palouse Cares is in full swing this week and the efforts of hundreds of volunteers will culminate Saturday, Dec. 6, when volunteers collect thousands of pounds of food and hold auctions and festivities. Last year, the effort raised 38,000 pounds of food and $30,000 in cash, which was all distributed to 11 regional foodbanks and 11 charities. Among the donors is Gritman Medical Center, which donates a pallet of food from its cafeteria.
“Latah and Whitman counties have high rates of food insecurity and a lot of food banks rely on us to help them,” Rick Minard, president and a founder of Palouse Cares and general manager of Moscow and Pullman Building Supply. “A lot of people around here are struggling and we don’t want any child to go hungry, so we do everything we can to fill these food banks.”
Palouse Cares involves up to 700 volunteers and truly does include everyone on the Palouse: college students, fraternities, sororities, civic clubs, seniors, churches, clubs, neighbors and businesses. On the first Saturday of December (this year, Dec. 6), volunteers go out at 9 a.m. to collect food from houses, many of whom call in advance. Morning food drives are held in Albion, Colfax, Colton/Uniontown, Deary/Bovill, Garfield, Genesee, Juliaetta/Kendrick, Moscow, Palouse, Potlatch, Pullman, Troy, and Viola.
Volunteers take food to the Real Life Church at the Eastside Marketplace in Moscow and various events begin soon after 11 a.m., including live and silent auctions, fundraising games and lunch. Volunteers also take food to Zeppoz in Pullman and events begin shortly after 11 a.m., including live and silent auctions and lunch. Various food banks will come to divide up the food. The money will go to various nonprofits; Palouse Cares is a donor to Gritman’s Light a Candle program, which provides financial and other assistance to cancer patients.
“We do some marketing but there’s a lot of word-of-mouth – people know what we are doing every year and they have bags of food ready for us,” said Kara Lange, marketing director at Moscow Pullman Building Supply and a Palouse Cares Board member. “Not only does this bring in needed donations, it’s a way to unite the community.”
If you’d like to donate food, or help collect food, see the contact list at palousecares.org and you can also reach organizers directly at facebook.com/PalouseCares.
These companies have given financial support, loaned their facility or helped with marketing: Allegra, American West Bank, Gritman Medical Center, Howard Hughes Appliance, Television, & Sleepshop, Inland Northwest Broadcasting, Moscow Family Medicine, Moscow & Pullman Building Supply, Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Moscow Women's Giving Circle, Potlatch (Deary office), Real Life at Eastside Marketplace, Rosauers (Colfax), Umpqua Bank and Zeppoz.
Businesses that have donated auction items include: Howard Hughes Appliance, TV and Sleepshop, Joe McGurkin with Moscow Realty, Wysup Motors, Archer Photography, Inland Cellular and Interstate Aviation, Steve Shannon & Inland Northwest Broadcasting, NRS, Les Schwab Tires, Moscow Middle School Shop Class, American West Bank, FabTec, Les Schwab Employees and Beth Walker, Bobby & Barb Shores, Jim Wallace, Pizza Perfection, Rendezvous Committee, Rich & Carla Wesson, Moscow RV, Hog Heaven SausageWorks, Scott's House of Flowers, Superior Floors, Pat's Saw Shop, Mike Iupati, Airway Hills Golf Range, A.J. Dahlberg, St. Vincent de Paul, Bare Wires, Hyperspud Sports, Team Idaho Real Estate, Team Idaho Real Estate, Chuck Spurgeon, Proof, Kenworthy Board of Directors, Palouse Commercial Real Estate, Rent a Center, Moscow & Pullman Building Supply, Furniture Center, Helbling Machine, La Casa Lopez, Eastside Marketplace, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Moscow RV, Vandal Meats, Headquarters Hair Salon, Moscow Alehouse, Staxx, Auto Body SuperCenter, Napa Auto Parts, Woodbury Tree Farm, Wasankari Construction, Wack a Doo's, Kimberling Insurance, Matt Robertson from Revolution Motor Sports, Paradise Creek Bicycles, One World Café, Cafe Arista, Jeanne Sanford, Andy Kaus family, Sure Shot Sporting Goods, Castle Carpet Cleaning, Ken & Carol Robinson, Forrest Gilchrist, Mary Jane's Farm, Doreen Workman, Mike and Linda Sprenger, Sprenger Construction, Zelda's Grooming, Pullman Baskin-Robbins, Umpqua Bank, At Home Designs and Rod Schwartz, Black Cypress, Brian Mitzel, Higginsons Furniture, Holiday Inn Express, Pullman Aquatic and Fitness Center, Sam Dial Jewelry, South Fork, Bart Johnson, Cori Dantini and At Home Designs, Digilent Inc., Jess Ford, Merry Cellars, Denise at Mirror, Mirror, My Office Bar and Grill, Perfection Tire, Quality Inn, Tawny at Rico's, Pape Machinery.