ARLINGTON — The Stillaguamish Tribe has donated more than $1 million this month to north Snohomish County food banks and fire departments.
The first checks, $300,000 each, went to the Arlington and Stanwood Camano food banks. Then came another $300,000 donation to North County Fire and Emergency Medical Services, and $180,000 to the Oso Fire Department. The donations are the latest effort to “further care for the well-being of their local community and to help make a positive impact, during a period of continued uncertainty,” the tribe said in a news release.
“Looking at the check, I had to do a double take,” said Lynne Ayers, executive director of the Stanwood Camano Food Bank. “It was remarkable, jaw dropping and just an amazing gift to our community and our members.”
Demand at the food bank has skyrocketed due to coronavirus pandemic. Volunteers are handing out 113,000 pounds of food every month — nearly double the average amount. There’s been a 300% increase in sign-ups for families that previously had never used a food bank.
The organization’s backpack program, which gives meals to children in need, has gone from 1,200 kids a week to 4,800.
Overall, operating costs have tripled, Ayers said.
The tribe’s donation will cover the bill for four and a half months.
“Which is amazing,” Ayers said.
The donation to North County Fire and Emergency Medical Services will cover costs for the 4,200 calls the office receives each year, the tribe said.
“As many know, Oso has been hit hard by past natural disasters, and COVID-19 is one more hurdle for the small community to overcome,” Shawn Yanity, Chairman of the Stillaguamish Tribe, said in the news release. “This team and those at North County do amazing work, and we want to support them.”