Cars were packed in the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank parking lot Friday afternoon. The food bank’s Spring Festival and Fundraiser served primarily as a way to say thank you to the community, Randi Smith, who works in donor relations for the food bank, said.
“It was our opportunity to give back to the community and have a little free picnic, and then of course on the side — since we’re always fundraising — have a bucket raffle and sundaes and sodas for sale.”
The food bank, a nonprofit organization founded in 1988, provides food to more than 70 nonprofits to feed residents throughout the entire borough. The food bank’s main purpose is to feed and empower residents. The nonprofit has also been focusing on education, through classes on gardening and nutrition.
In 2017, the Food Bank served 20,457 meals (an average of 1,704 meals per month) through the on-site Fireweed Diner Soup Kitchen, and processed over 1.2 million pounds of food, according to the organization’s website.
The food bank is a nongovernmental agency, and does not receive federal dollars, Greg Meyer, the food bank’s director, said.
“We have to support ourselves and it’s a full time job,” Meyer said.
While the spring festival was an event to thank the community, the nonprofit also used the day to help raise funds by selling raffle tickets, selling ice cream sundaes and sodas and hosting a silent auction.
The spring festival is the first event of its kind, Meyer said. He said the organization wanted to host an event accessible for the whole community, including the residents who visit the food bank daily.
Meyer said the event, which has been six months in the making, received plenty of support and sponsorship, including food and drinks for the picnic.
“We just always want to thank the community,” Meyer said. “It’s amazing what a giving community they are.”
“It’s an incredibly generous community,” Smith said.
Meyer and Smith said residents interested in supporting the food bank can donate through their website kpfoodbank.org, by calling 907-262-3111, or stopping by the food bank at 33955 Community College Drive near Soldotna.