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Category: Resource Distribution Council


High spirits among food bank staff, volunteers

I’m back from talking to Anna Wingate, Randy McElliott and others who run the Resource Distribution Council. They were operating a mobile pantry on South 56th Street – across from their old location – and in high spirits.

It’s been a tough time for them lately, and they look like they’re pulling through.

Wingate and others from the RDC stood in the parking lot of Grace Place on Friday afternoon. It was the third consecutive week they distributed food outside the church on South 56th Street.


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Time to reaffirm faith in humanity

I’ve spent the past 90 minutes watching students from Bates Technical College help load up trucks at the Resource Distribution Council’s old building, move it to the food bank’s new location in Lakewood and come back for more. It’s part of the overwhelming response from an article that appeared in The News Tribune on Oct. 5.

Here are some of the highlights from several conversations I had. I’m going to talk to Kris Manning of Bates later in the day, so look for an article in the paper tomorrow.

Anna Wingate, president and founder of the RDC:

The day of the article, I get a phone call. The guy says, ‘Hi, I’m Kris Manning from Bates College. We have a lot of trucks and can bring 20 trucks in if you need them.’

I’m thinking I’m talking to someone from the truck-driving school. I’m telling him about the (heating, ventilation and air conditioning system) and other stuff. He says, ‘That’s good to know.’ I asked why. He said, ‘I like to know what my instructors are doing.’

I asked him if he was the head of the truck-driving school, and he said, ‘No, I’m the dean of instruction. And while we’re at it, you have several issues you need done. You need construction, you need this, you need that.’

He put out a mass e-mail to the departments and so far, we’ve received help from the HVAC, the electrical, the truck-driving and the facilities and maintenance schools.

She said they’ve received about $2,500 in donations so far from 16 people, including some from Seattle. Others gave what they felt they could: They received single donations of $10, $25 and $30.

A few of them drive over and handed the money to us and apologized that they couldn’t give us more. Those are the ones that are precious.

They were absolutely swamped with offers of help:

The amount of physical labor people have offered to give us has been amazing. It’s overwhelming. We’ve actually had to turn people away – that’s how much people have offered.

Tommy McClure, a student at Bates, said he read the article and sympathized with the food bank:

They’re helping out as much as they can in the community and they do good work. So when we were told we were going to help them out, and I was more than happy to do it.

There’s also a practical purpose to helping out, he said:

It’s a pretty good situation for both sides. We get real-life experience, and we also get to help the community.

Dan French, a truck-driving instructor at Bates, said he and his students have donated about 30 hours of labor, and they’ll contribute another 14 over the next two days. He says it helps give perspective:

These guys get to see what truck driving is really all about. It’s not just about making money, but about helping people.

There are more photos after the jump:

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Bates College pitching in

Here’s a press release from Bates Technical College about helping out the Resource Distribution Council, the food bank I wrote about last week:

Bates Technical College instructors and students have stepped in to help the Resource Distribution Council (RDC) keep their doors open. RDC, a community food bank, serves nearly 9,500 people a month, operates five mobile pantries in Pierce County, and distributes approximately 1.5 million pounds of food a year. The South Tacoma building they had leased for the past nine years sold, and RDC was forced to relocate.

A News Tribune article of

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A flood of help

The volunteers were there, but I missed them.

After a morning at the Tacoma Dome, I went past the (soon-to-be-vacant) site of the Resource Distribution Council. The volunteers were gone — and so was much of the equipment and stock from the warehouse in South Tacoma.

“The phone started ringing when the papers hit people’s doorsteps,” said founder and president Anna Wingate. And yesterday’s mail delivery brought several checks.

They’re not there yet, but they’re getting close.


Wanna help?

If you want to help:

The Resource Distribution Council needs up to $20,000 to continue its mission of distributing food to more than 9,500 people in Pierce County each month. If you’re interested in helping, contact Anna Wingate at 253-473-7669 or awingate@therdc.org. You can also send a check to the food bank’s new location at 3423 Chapel St. S., Lakewood, WA 98499. The charity also takes credit cards.


‘We’re really in need.’

As I was walking out of the Resource Distribution Council, a food bank that serves 9,500 people each month, executive director Randy McElliott wasn’t too proud to appeal to The News Tribune’s readers for help.

“We’re in need,” he said after stopping me on my way to the parking lot. “We’re really in need. We’re going to need help to keep it going.”

I wish I had my recorder going at that time because it’s tough to describe the sound in his voice. It wasn’t desperation, but it was close.


Sometimes a charity is the one asking for help

I’m about to head out to Resource Distribution Council food bank in South Tacoma. I don’t have all the details yet, but the situation looks grim for the charity. It lost its lease and needs a boatload of cash — somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000 — to move and install new equipment.

I’ll update more when I get back.