The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Wolfgang Kurtz
LOG Editor 

Seasons blessings get a boost


Wolfgang Kurtz | The Seward Phoenix LOG

Seward ported United States Coast Guard Cutter Mustang crew members drop off a whole tub of donated canned goods to help restock the shelves at the He Will Provide Food Pantry. The local food bank moved to the lower level of the former community library late this summer.

Last year's holiday season support for the less fortunate in the community of Seward saw an unexpected boost due to the gift of freezers full of food from the M/V Tustumena. The ferry, laden with expiring groceries, was delayed during protracted drydock repairs and crew members saw the opportunity to put the food to good use before it spoiled.

This year the cupboard at the He Will Provide Food Pantry is looking a little bare as donations coming in from the community are struggling to keep up with demand. The Rotary Club of Seward came through with a gift of 100 turkeys, but those were all signed for within a week. Canned goods, included a big tub brought in by the crew of the United States Coast Guard Cutter Mustang last week, are flying off the shelves. Weekly, food pantry staff bring in shipments and donations from Anchorage and sparingly purchase items to fill in gaps for basic dietary needs.

Shoreside Petroleum has traditionally supported the Food Bank of Alaska in Anchorage and Wasilla where the local food pantry gets some of its stock. However, this year the Seward-based business is including He Will Provide with a program that gets a nickel per gallon of fuel purchased at its Essential One gas stations into the food pantry's coffers. According to Ken Bobbie of Shoreside this is in addition to making periodic cash donations. He says that they wanted to expand a campaign at their Wasilla station for the Mat Su Food Bank to include Seward. "Seward's equivalent of a food bank is the He Will Provide Food Pantry, hence the current (Nov. 15 through Dec. 15) fundraiser at our Seward station."

The local food pantry recently settled into a new location on the lower floor of the former Seward Community Library. With new hours from 3 to 6 p.m. every Thursday, a volunteer said that since they've been there, the numbers have been climbing. He added that the location is more convenient to low income housing near the city's center and that out-of-town folks don't appear to have had any difficulty finding them.

Each client can select 10 pounds of food per weekly opening and the food pantry saw 132 shoppers last week, the highest number ever. According to a volunteer the Nov. 27 opening will eclipse that number as 100 visit just to pick up their Rotarian turkeys. He says that as of last week 25 or 30 had asked about getting on the list, but they are all out. The food pantry is accepting all donations through its Thursday openings, by mail at P.O. Box 3445, Seward or by calling 491-1235.

An annual Christmas campaign to provide gifts including toys, clothing and necessities is also underway. The Angel Tree program is organized yearly by the Seward Fire Department and the Bear Creek Volunteer Fire Department and aims to match up specific needs to benefactors who will pick up the tab. Angels are appearing on trees in local venues including First National Bank Alaska and Wells Fargo stores with different gifts listed on them. The gifts donated along with their angel will be matched up with nominations from community members.

To help the better angels get out into the community, nomination forms are being accepted at the fire departments through Dec. 6. Deserving families can be named on the entries along with a specific need that they may have. The forms will be matched up with the appropriate donation and the gifts will be delivered on Dec. 18 and 19 by discreet firefighters. Call 224-3445 for information.

Since the Sept. 21 fire that destroyed Ray's Reusables, unwanted second-hand goods have been stacking up at local houses and businesses. The He Will Provide van will provide an opportunity to deliver clothing donations for shipment to the Philippines to benefit typhoon victims. Donations will be accepted on Nov. 22 and Nov. 27 at the Hertz offices in Seward at 600 Port Ave.

Another resource for those Sewardites in need is the Resurrection Bay Lions Club food bank which opens every third Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon at the Seward Senior Center. Their program distributes food from the Food Bank of Alaska as well as USDA commodities. According to Dona Walker of the RBLC, local groups and individuals also pitch in. Contact Walker at 224-5396 to donate or for information.

Local restaurants, taverns, churches and organizations also provide family oriented meals and activities throughout the season.


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