SEATTLE — Bartell Drugs this week is launching its "Stock the Pantry" food drive by accepting nonperishable food and cash donations at all of its 57 drug store locations.
The drug chain said Tuesday that the food drive, done in conjunction with Northwest Harvest and now in its second year, runs June 1 to June 13.
Bartell noted that the effort helps many families during the summer months, when they may struggle to provide children with food at home because free or reduced-price school meals aren’t available.
"Year-round hunger is an unfortunate reality for many children and their families, as well as many seniors," commented George Bartell, chairman and chief executive of Bartell Drugs. "Through the generous contributions by our customers, we’re proud to support Northwest Harvest with this effort."
The retailer is urging customers to contribute such "kid-friendly" food items as tuna, instant oatmeal, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, cheese crackers, applesauce, and
canned fruit in individual serving sizes.
"Only two out of five low-income children who receive a school lunch also receive a lunch in the summer months," stated Shelley Rotondo, executive director of Northwest Harvest. "Stock the Pantry represents a major summer food drive and helps replenish food stocks for families in need."
Last year, the two-week drive generated more than 16,767 pounds of food donations as well as cash contributions for food banks in Washington state’s King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Bartell also donated 1,500 reusable bags for use by food bank clients.
About 16% of Washington’s children under 18, or approximately 226,000 children, live below the federal poverty level, according to figures cited by Bartell. The retailer also noted that many Washington children live in families and communities facing harsh cuts in health care and other services, and that children from food-insecure households suffer two to four times as many physical health problems as their peers as well as more behavioral, emotional and cognitive disorders.
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