Lions Club to ‘Walk N’ Knock’ for Food Donations Saturday in Boistfort Area

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The concept of “Walk N’ Knock” — where volunteers mail out bags to be filled with nonperishables, pick them up and deliver to food banks — was first brought to Lewis County after a Boistfort Lions Club member was inspired by a church in Longview.

Though the program was derailed last year due to COVID, the club will once again collect donations this year, just without the mailed bags. Instead, members will visit as many homes in the Boistfort area as possible beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday Dec. 4, asking for any nonperishable foods residents might be willing to part with. Food will be donated to the Pe Ell food bank.

Any Boistfort residents who realize their house was missed or who won’t be home Saturday morning can call 360-245-3769.

The Salvation Army and other food bank programs can buy food at more cost-effective bulk rates, so monetary donations are always “the way to go,” said Lions Club member Barry Panush. “But people always have something in their pantry that they are willing to give away.”

Some local food banks have tried doing drop-off zones recently, Panush said, but that still requires some effort on the donor’s behalf. He and other club members figure the Walk N’ Knock program has very few barriers, and once residents actually see the faces of volunteers, they usually want to help out.

“We’ll usually have one of the grade school kids with us,” Panush said. “What’s neat is you get the younger generation out there donating and giving, and it’s just really good training.”

For those outside the Boistfort area whose houses won’t be knocked on this Saturday, Panush recommends mailing a check to the Salvation Army, a food bank or a local Lions Club.

“They would use it to help people, and (donors) can put in the margins ‘for food.’ And if they want to drop off food at the Salvation Army, they will take it. They don’t take perishables,” he said. 

In the coming years, Panush and other members are hoping they can scale the program back up. As stimulus checks are spent and inflation rises, he said he believes the need will only continue to increase.

“Hopefully next year it will be a bigger deal and I think it will be more needed. I don’t think all this free COVID money is going to be flying around next year. It’s not going to get any better,” Panush said, adding later: “It’s very rewarding to be able to pick up this food and make sure it gets to people.”