Groups to host events, help those in need

Nonprofits will offer free food, shelter, in search of volunteers



Amy Volz, Domestic Violence Services coordinator, said 20 percent of the food pantry patrons are students.

JAYCE CARRAL, Evergreen reporter

Local nonprofits on the Palouse will provide support to those in need during the winter season through fundraisers, free food and shelter.

The Community Action Center

As a holiday celebration, the Community Action Center (CAC) is hosting two community meals during regular food pantry distribution hours, said Ashley Vaughan, food and nutrition specialist for the CAC. It is the first event of its kind, and if it is successful it will be continued.

For those who need a place to stay, the CAC has a communal room available weekdays during regular business hours, Vaughan said. The CAC will be closed from Dec. 25 to Jan. 2.

All Whitman County residents are welcome, she said, including those at WSU who are staying for the holidays. She said roughly 20 percent of the patrons who use the pantry are students.

“We don’t turn anybody away,” Vaughan said. “If you need food, we will give you food.”

The CAC is a nonprofit support service organization. It helps low- to moderate-income families in various ways including rental assistance, open food pantries and an accessible communal kitchen, she said.

The food pantry is open on from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays and from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursdays. Canned goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, bread and sweets are available, Vaughan said.

“There’s always an influx of donations during the holidays,” she said. “For the people who remember us during the holidays, you should also try to remember us during the summer.”

After the holidays, she said, there are declines in donations and volunteers. The CAC still needs volunteers to help with food distribution, stocking and sorting food and helping patrons, she said. Donations are always accepted and can be dropped off at the front desk.

Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse

Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse is hosting two winter events and has an open pantry to survivors of domestic violence.

ATVP always accepts donations for its food pantry and shelters. Volunteers are welcome to apply on the ATVP website and volunteer training occurs annually in March.

The first winter event ATVP is hosting is A Home for the Holidays, a gingerbread house-decorating fundraiser.

“People build these crazy intricate gingerbread houses,” said Amy Volz, coordinator of domestic violence services at ATVP. “They melt sugar, put lights in it, put motors in it — it’s great.”

On Friday, at ATVP in Moscow, starting at 6:30 p.m. 18 houses will be decorated and put up for bidding. There will be music, food and a no-host bar. Tickets are $20 per attendee. All proceeds gathered will be implemented into ATVP’s unrestricted money fund.

“The money we receive from grants is quite restricted,” Volz said. “Donations are unrestricted money that we can use. For example, the grant money allows us to have support groups for survivors, but if someone can’t make it to [the] group because of a lack of gas money, the unrestricted money allows us to cover that.”

ATVP also sponsors Our Giving Tree. There are two trees, one in ATVP’s Pullman office and the second in the Moscow office. The trees have about a cumulative of 50 family wish lists, Volz said.

People can take a tag and help give gifts to families that need some extra help during the holidays, she said. Tags can be picked up until next Friday and all presents must be delivered by Dec. 18.

ATVP has a 24-hour shelter available for anybody fleeing from domestic violence, Volz said. There is also a 24 hour hotline at (509) 332-4357.