By Nicole Matheson
With a two-year anniversary to celebrate Sept. 17, the Lake Havasu City Food Bank continues to provide for the needy – an effort made possible by the many volunteers involved as well as donations from our generous community. RiverScene spoke with head of the Food Bank Colleen Mattinson, who expressed deep gratitude for the team of volunteers.
Staying Open Through Hard Times
The Food Bank has remained open for service during the pandemic, shifting to a drive-thru concept to minimize contact and maintain social distancing. “With COVID and everything going on, I had a lot of volunteers who left,” Mattinson shares. “Had I not had the volunteers that stayed and then picked up extra hours and extra days, I would not have had people to get through this.”
Volunteers have braved the intense heat of the outdoors to make this drive-thru possible, where they serve about 20 to 25 vehicles a day. The volunteers total about 60, but there are closer to 30 working on a consistent basis with Mattinson, stocking shelves, unloading delivery trucks, and sorting through the food products beginning as early as 6 a.m. “They’ve been here every day, all day. Not one of them has failed.” Mattinson praises her team, some of whom have been donating their time for as long as the two years that the Food Bank has been open.
Volunteering And Donating
“I’ve always called this God’s Food Bank,” Mattinson muses. “For every volunteer that I lost because of COVID, somebody showed up. It’s been amazing. My volunteers have been amazing!”
These volunteers have been the backbone of the Food Bank deserving of recognition by the community. There is always a need for more helpers, so for those who have the time and drive to help out, Mattinson will not turn a volunteer away as there is always something that can be done. But there are more ways to help the Food Bank, as a little boy named Eli Smith demonstrates.
A Birthday Party Of Giving
Eli Smith just celebrated his fifth birthday and instead of presents he asked that everyone bring food to donate to the Food Bank. The idea really took off and made Smith’s party a success. “He knew that people didn’t have,” says Smith’s mother, Amber Smith. “He liked being able to deliver all the food. He wants to tell other people that the food was running out at the Food Bank.”
Smith was able to donate 217 pounds of food after his party, thanks to his generous spirit and determination. To follow his example and donate, Mattinson suggests good, hearty food that will fill someone up, such as canned chicken or beans and pasta. As a community, we can work together to keep the Food Bank thriving for those who need it most – every little bit counts.
For more information on the Food Bank and how to volunteer or donate, call 928-264-1177. The Food Bank is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The address is 1980 Kiowa Blvd. in Lake Havasu City.