It’s the season for giving and local zero-budget nonprofit Palouse Cares is taking the season by storm with their annual door to door collection food drive.
Starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, volunteers can gather at rendezvous points in their respective cities in order to participate in this event. In Pullman, volunteers are meeting at Zeppoz. In Moscow, the meeting point is at Eastside Market Place.
This year, Palouse Cares has also extended to Potlatch and Colfax. Volunteers can meet at Harvest Foods and Rosauers, respectively.
Volunteers are then given a section of a map and go door to door to collect food and donations to fill all of the local food banks.
“This year, our goal is 36,000 items of food and $25,000,” Palouse Cares Board member Rick Minard said.
Palouse Cares has been doing their annual door to door collections since 2006, but has been doing the food drive for more than 15 years.
“People are wonderful,” Minard said about those who donate through the door to door collection. “Most expect us.”
Minard said last year the 1,000 volunteers collected about 30,000 food items, benefiting hundreds of families in the region.
Backyard Harvest, a local nonprofit who receives donations from this Saturday’s event, responded to last year’s giving, posted among many testimonies by community members on the Palouse Cares website.
“With the help of Palouse Cares, Backyard Harvest was able to register over 400 backyard trees and glean over 12,000 pounds of fruit this year,” Backyard Harvest Director Amy Grey said. “Dozens of students and community members joined to pick and deliver these fresh cherries, apricots, plums, apples and pears to our area food pantries and senior meal programs. Thanks Palouse Cares for helping to build this ‘community orchard’ and gather in the harvest!”
Janice O’Toole, President of Success by 6 of the Palouse, a nonprofit organization advocating for child education, also wrote a testimony in response to last year’s Palouse Cares.
“The grants we received from Palouse Cares gave Success by 6 of the Palouse new life,” O’Toole said. “They have allowed us to provide services we could not provide with other grant monies. Palouse Cares is a pure paradigm of a community coming together to care for its own. The model is ingenious and unparalleled in its zero expenses approach. I wish all charitable programs could be so lean and selfless.”
In addition to the door to door collections, there will also be silent auctions at all four locations at 11 a.m. There will also be live auctions and a lunch at just the Pullman and Moscow locations.
Items auctioned off at the Pullman include a gift certificate to Rico’s, haircuts from Shear Heaven and two ice cream cakes from Dairy Queen. These and other items are all donated by local businesses.
The local media is also involved in Palouse Cares, including radio stations ZFun 106 and Bull Country 99.5.
“Working with Palouse Cares gives me an opportunity to help our neighbors in Moscow and Pullman,” said Randy Byers, Morning Stampede Co-Host at Bull Country. “The winter months can be a difficult time of year for many families throughout the area and Palouse Cares is a great way to reach out and lend a helping hand. To be at the food collection event and see families working together as tons of food pour in is heartwarming.”
Minard said that anyone can help on Saturday by participating in the door to door collections, going to the auctions, going to the lunches to make donations or just giving food when volunteers show up at the door.
“I want to thank the WSU Center for Civic Engagement,” he said. “They help so much with the much needed recruitment on WSU campus. WSU and U of I students are absolutely rock stars.”