WAGAP’s Food Bank links community organizations with families in need

Bingen – The holidays will be brighter as the 2020 Tree of Joy program kicks off to provide gifts to children of families in need in Klickitat and Skamania counties. The project links children’s wish lists with donors from business and community organizations and is coordinated by Washington Gorge Action Programs (WAGAP) Food Bank.

In 2019, the Tree of Joy project supported more than 200 children from 115 families. It was made possible through the generous contributions of individual donors from supporting businesses and community organizations including Insitu, White Salmon–Bingen Rotary Club, Skyline Health, Innovative Composite Engineering, Proactive Financial Management, Everybody’s Brewing, John L. Scott, St. Joseph Catholic Church and White Salmon United Methodist Church.

“We are in our fourth year of organizing the Tree of Joy here at WAGAP,” said Patty Gallardo, project coordinator. “This year the need for donors will be even higher due to the economic impacts of COVID-19 restrictions,” she added.

Gallardo has been reaching out to previous donors to request participation, and would like to invite more organizations to become part of this joyous activity. Donor shopping lists will be available by Nov. 24, in advance of Thanksgiving. Gifts should be wrapped, clearly indicate family and child numbers and be returned to the Bingen Food Bank by Dec. 15, in time for the families to pick gifts up starting on Dec. 17.

Families in need can apply for the Tree of Joy through Nov. 16 at the Bingen Food Bank during its regular hours, Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (closed for lunch between noon and 1 p.m.). Families will be asked for the child’s age, clothing size, shoe size and a wish list of two or three gift items for consideration. The program is open to children age 18 and under and all information is kept confidential.

The number of families and children who can be served this year will be determined by the capacity of participating donor organizations.

For organizations interested in joining this year’s Tree of Joy effort, contact Gallardo at clerk@wagap.org or call 509-493-2662 ext. 200 for further questions or instructions, and to let her know how many children your organization can support.

Gallardo added, “We appreciate everyone who can help in any way!”

Washington Gorge Action Programs (WAGAP) is a 501c3 non-profit Community Action Agency dedicated to helping individuals, families, and communities address basic human needs in Klickitat and Skamania Counties. For more than 50 years, the organization has offered support services to help people help themselves and reach self-sufficiency. Learn more at wagap.org or, for additional information, contact WAGAP at 509-493-2662 or email info@wagap.org.

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