KINGMAN - Kingman Food Bank Executive Director Catherine Walker has bins to fill, and she needs help doing it. Of course, she can also always use donations.
The Kingman Food Bank served 30,100 individuals last year, handing out an average of 112 pounds of food per cart to needy and downtrodden families, while in 2012 roughly 15,000 came through the facility. The Food Bank continues to do its best to supply some hope and a meal to anyone who needs it without question, but Walker isn't satisfied as long as there are those going hungry.
"Our plan is to go out of business when everyone is fed," she said.
Walker took over the position at the end of June of this year and has spent time poring over the books. "I'm doing a lot of reorganizing," she said. "I'm an auditor by trade and I'm going over the books and closing them."
Still, the demand for food, money and volunteers continues to climb.
"Every day the numbers increase, and it's a continuous increase. I've got to bring more food in - I've got to be able to move it a little bit quicker," she said.
Walker is deeply grateful toward the volunteers, who are mostly in the age range of their late 40s to early 90s. "I have lived all over the United States and I have never seen such a giving community as Kingman," she said, adding that nowhere are people more likely to open their wallets to help.
Walker says she would like to get another 20-25 volunteers to assist her so that she can give her people time off. "It's summertime," she said. "Some people want to go on a vacation. How do you tell people they can't go on a vacation when they're volunteering?"
Food is not the only thing that the Food Bank assists families with. A small inventory of donated clothing, first aid supplies and even baby food, formula and diapers are available in limited amounts.
What makes the establishment move are the volunteers. Some of them start at 4 a.m. and work all morning to get the shelves stocked, produce cleaned and ready for distribution, or goods received. Walker said she is looking specifically for canned meat and other proteins such as peanut butter in order to give out nutritionally balanced carts of food. Monetary donations go toward purchasing food to fill the gap in nutrition, such as protein, when necessary.
"Everybody falls on hard times at least once in their life and we're here to help. We never turn anyone away," Walker said.
The Food Bank participates in a federally-funded AARP program for job training and support for seniors through AARP's Back to Work 50+ program. For information regarding this program, call AARP at 1-855-850-2525.
To volunteer, come in to the Food Bank at 2930 E. Butler Ave. between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday and pick up a Food Bank application.
Donations are graciously accepted.