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WGAP to end food delivery to food banks

 


At a board of directors meeting Dec. 5 and in response to declining funding, Washington Gorge Action Programs (WGAP) elected to end its long-time service of delivering food to the three food banks in Klickitat County and one in Skamania County. The food banks relied on the deliveries for the no-cost food they distribute to individuals and families in need.

As the distribution center for food banks in the counties, WGAP has delivered food to the food banks since 1999. As often as needed, WGAP would load palettes of food into their large trucks, drive to the food bank location, and help unload.

“The 2014 distribution center budget was $12,100 over-obligated,” WGAP stated in a press release. “These continual reductions have happened at a time when both need and costs have increased.”

Linda Schneider, WGAP Executive Director, explained that the cost of insurance, fuel, maintenance and repairs averages $15,000 annually. That average does not include any staff time for loading, driving, and unloading. WGAP has no other grant funding that can be applied to this program. The majority of donations WGAP receives go to support the local food bank, unless the donor has designated the funds for a different program.

Over the last four years WGAP has made some difficult funding decisions: eliminating both life insurance for full time staff and employer retirement contributions. Two years ago, the agency reduced all staff from 40 hours per week to 36. The agency is closed on Friday.

This decision has been the most difficult, WGAP’s press release stated, because it will directly impact the food banks that WGAP has helped for so many years.

WGAP plans to meet with all of the food banks to develop solutions to their individual delivery needs. The change will not happen immediately, but will occur as each food bank finds a delivery method. WGAP will maintain their dry storage warehouse and their freezer and refrigerated spaces. Food will be stored in these facilities until food banks can pick it up. WGAP will not let a food bank run out of food, but it emphasizes that options and solutions need to be developed as soon as possible.

 

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