110,000 bags, 3,500 volunteers, 135 tons of food.
Put these three things together and you’ve got the Clark County Inter-Service Walk and Knock. They are ingredients that create a recipe for one of the largest one-day food drives in the country.
According to organizers, Walk & Knock is an all-volunteer organization made up of area service organizations, the Clark County Amateur Radio Club, local trucking companies, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, church and school groups, and hundreds of other volunteers.
Last Saturday, that massive volunteer support and enthusiasm was on display as an estimated 300 people spent three hours folding and stacking brown paper shopping bags that will be inserted into several local newspapers, including the Post-Record, next week. They gathered at 8 a.m. at the Clark County Food Bank in Vancouver, and didn’t stop going until nearly lunchtime.
Conceptually, the food drive began in 1982, according to the website, with Vancouver Lions Club members Bud Pasmore and Doug Rae.
It wasn’t until 1985 that the event was formally named the Inter-Service Walk & Knock. That year, with the help of local media, sponsorships, and the paper bag newspaper inserts, 42 tons of food was collected.
More than 30 years later, the event is consistently drawing 3.500 volunteers or more, and typically collecting 132 tons of food, which is distributed to 15 local food banks, including the Inter-Faith Treasure House in Washougal. All told, an estimated 7.5 million pounds of food and thousands of dollars have been amassed.
With new marketing strategies in place this year, when the event occurs on Saturday, Dec. 3, organizers are looking to surpass some of those “typical” amounts, and in doing so allow local food banks to do even more good in their efforts to prevent anyone in Clark County from going hungry.