People and organizations who depend on the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank will see a bump in the amount and variety of food available in the coming months as the food bank spends a $10,000 grant award from the Alaska Community Foundation.
The new grant, announced on Thursday, is in its inaugural year of funding and while organizers are unsure if it will be available for a second year, the $164,000 spread statewide is designed to meet Alaskans’ fundamental needs in this year.
The food bank joins 12 other organizations, which address issues like domestic violence, senior needs and food security, in receiving the award.
“I’m so excited to receive this grant,” said Dillingham-based Safe & Fear-Free Environment Executive Director Marilyn Casteel, according to a community foundation media release. “We will be able to provide meals to our shelter clients, but we can also help clients with food outside of the shelter as well.”
The Dillingham shelter was awarded $10,000 according to foundation data.
Kenai Peninsula Food Bank Executive Director Linda Swarner said she was also excited to see the award. She said the food bank was invited to participate in the grant process.
“We’re always happy to receive a grant, but I guess not totally surprised,” she said.
The money will cover the purchase of food and certain operating costs for the Kenai Peninsula’s food bank and the 68 member agencies and food programs that depend on it to feed community members.
The new grant program funding came through the combined resources of several funds typically used by the Alaska Community Foundation, said Sarah Zerkel, a foundation program associate.
“We pooled unrestricted and field-of-interest funds together. So we were really able to take these different fund types and have a bigger collective impact,” Zerkel said. “We wanted to use this opportunity to have some really good, direct impact in the community and just to directly meet the basic needs of Alaskans. Swarner said the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank meets most of its budgetary needs through individual donations and special fundraising events.
“We live in a very generous community,” she said.
The food bank is accepting donations of holiday foods.
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