WENATCHEE — Thom Nees, executive director of Serve Wenatchee Valley, helped organize a large-scale drive-thru food bank at the Town Toyota Center in March. He connected local organizations in order to supply a growing food need at the onset of statewide layoffs due to COVID-19 shutdowns.
“When we all bring what we have to the table, we can accomplish a lot together,” Nees said in March, during a busy day of preparation.
The food bank operation involved creating a space that volunteers could safely use in the midst of COVID-19. His plan was to centralize where people could pick up food, rather than send those in need all over town.
Nees teamed Serve Wenatchee up with the Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council in order to supply food to large numbers of people.
“We are truly in the middle of a crisis,” he said. Adding “We were able to bring people together in order to respond.”
Workers prepared hundreds of food boxes in advance and set them on tables for people to pick up and load themselves. If somebody comes by, saying they need food, “we’re going to provide it,” he said.
Nees also helped to create a bus route with Link Transit that took people to the food bank at the Town Toyota Center.
“What we’re all doing right now is building a plane in mid-air,” he said. “We’ve taken off, and we’re flying.”
Organizers kept the food bank open until food distribution numbers lowered in mid-July.