Contributed by Eddie Ezelle, MatSu Food Bank
A food bank collects and distributes food for organizations such as pantries, shelters and churches, (the wholesaler). To qualify at most food banks, you must be an agency of that bank. Pantries give food directly to the public, (the retail). So you have a wholesaler, the bank, retailer and the pantry.
Here at MatSu Food Bank, we have helped feed the hungry since 1984 when we were known as the Food Pantry of Wasilla. We formed and operated under the Valley Christian Conference (VCC) and became an independent organization when we received our 501 c in 1994. We have been located on the Good Shepard Lutheran Church campus since our beginning.
Three years ago, we changed our name to the MatSu Food Bank to better reflect what we do; sharing our good fortune with other agencies that also provide food to folks in need all over the Valley. We formed the Food4Kids program in 2013 to help feed the children. More on that later.
We share things we have in abundance due to very generous donors like you. Last year in 2015 we shared 124,000 lbs. of food with other agencies. That is not including the 3,000 clients a month we serve from our own Food Pantry of Wasilla. We have worked across the board with many different agencies to help with the Christmas Family Dinner, the Blessing at Thanksgiving, the Homeless Connect, Sockeye Fire, M YHouse, Red Cross and many others.
We are proud of the community support from all walks of life such as the Rotary, Elks, VFW, AMVETS, Sertoma Clubs. Carrs/Safeway in Wasilla, all Three Bears, Walmart, Starbucks and many other food places. Also when you visit local stores or use services such as Excel Physical Therapy.
Many individuals and businesses help with money donations to support our cause that no one should go hungry here in the valley and so the “MatSu feeding the Mat Su” is a great statement.
The MatSu Food Bank strives to collect here in the valley for the valley.
The Food Pantry of Wasilla has helped with emergency food since the start in 1984. Sometimes not knowing from day to day what they might have to give out. With the addition of an executive director in 2009 and recently other support staff, we have assured that there is food to give out every day we are open, which is Monday to Friday from 10am to 1pm.
We are the only pantry that is open 5 days a week. Keeping in mind we are not a regular grocery store and are staffed mainly with volunteers, we have been consistently serving emergency food all these years to all who come to our door.
We also have the Food4Kids program helping to feed our children with free meals.