A program that provides food for local school children to eat on the weekends will benefit from a pirate-themed event in Washougal.
The Inter-Faith Treasure House Backpack Home program provided food for between 100 to 150 children in Camas and Washougal during the 2015-16 school year.
The food is intended for them to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner Saturday and Sunday. Popular options include pre-packaged oatmeal packets, chicken noodle soup, spaghetti and meatballs, beef ravioli, and macaroni and beef. Shelf stable milk and financial donations are also appreciated.
Through the “Fresh Alliance” program, which started in June, the Treasure House receives dairy products, produce and frozen meat from Safeway, the Clark County Food Bank and the Oregon Food Bank.
Volunteers fill red bags with donated food on Wednesdays. The bags are then loaded into a van and taken to schools on Thursdays.
School counselors put the food into backpacks for children to take home on Fridays.
“The counselors know the households’ income levels and hardships at home,” said Nancy Wilson.
She has served as executive director of the Treasure House for 20 years.
The red bags are transported back to the Treasure House, to re-use the following week. The children must return the backpacks to school, to continue participation in the program.
In February, Valentine’s were provided for the children to give to their classmates.
At the end of the school year, they were given bubbles and sidewalk chalk.
“Things to keep them occupied during the summer,” Wilson said.
Her granddaughter, Taylor, researched childhood hunger for her senior project at Camas High School this year. That included writing about the backpack program, helping fill the red bags and sorting pallets of food.
Tammra Ells is the volunteer coordinator of the backpack program.
Helping the community
The Treasure House, founded in 1969, has several other programs, to assist with basic needs.
For the fiscal year June 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016, it provided 5,107 boxes of food for local families. Free bread and other food were given to 33,450 people.
Volunteers with the Lost and Found Cafe served 4,057 meals. Complimentary dinners are available Thursdays, at 6 p.m., at the Zion Lutheran Church social hall, 824 N.E. Fourth Ave., Camas. Monday meals are expected to resume in the fall.
Last year, the Treasure House provided $1.487 million in clothing, food, assistance with electric and water bills, rent and Christmas gifts and dinners.
In addition to Wilson, a full-time employee, there are four part-time workers and approximately 150 volunteers.
The Treasure House had a Christmas Shop where children and their parents could secretly choose presents for each other. Last year, that involved opportunities to wrap gifts with Mrs. Claus.
A van is used to pick up small loads of donated food and transport staff to meetings and training sessions.
It was purchased with donations from area residents and a challenge grant from Camas-Washougal Community Chest.
Wilson said Charles Lamb, owner of Triple C Auto Brokers in Camas and Washougal, located a van in the desired price range. Triple C has previously held fundraisers for the Treasure House.
For more information about programs or volunteer opportunities, call 834-4181, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ifth-cw.org.
“Pirates in the Plaza” will include costume contests
Music, dancing and sword fighting will occur Saturday, in downtown Washougal.
“Pirates in the Plaza” will be held from 5 to 10 p.m., in Reflection Plaza, 1701 Main St.
The family-friendly concert will feature music by BilgeRats & Pyrettes, and dancing by Bellissimonde, Bridgetown Morris Men and Dayley Dance Academy, of Washougal.
Suzanne Grover, an event committee member, encourages attendees to wear pirate costumes. There will be costume contests for children, teens and adults.
Mary Jane’s House of Glass will demonstrate glass blowing of art pieces.
The Downtown Washougal Association will provide a grog garden. It will feature Doomsday, Amnesia and 54-40 breweries, of Washougal.
A portion of the event and grog sale proceeds will benefit the Inter-Faith Treasure House and DWA.
Admission will be free to the concert, but donations to the Treasure House food backpack program are encouraged. Requested items include soups, macaroni and cheese, fruit cups and granola bars.
For more information, visit www.visitwashougal.com/events/pirates-in-the-park.