Distribution Moves to the Selah Civic Center
When the USDA Commodity Distribution program, (Cheese Giveaway) began in 1980 or 1981, Ellen Overby suggested to Father Queen that it be brought to a Selah site. In order to do this, it was necessary to be an established food bank with a 501(C)3 status. Able to use the Diocese’s 501(C)3 number, Father Queen and Ellen completed the necessary paper work and the food bank became official. At the time, commodity distribution for Yakima was at the Central Washington State Fairgrounds with the Salvation Army in charge. The Salvation Army was approached to open a site in Selah, thus removing some of the pressure off the fairgrounds site. After some major opposition to the idea, permission was finally granted. The commodities were distributed out of the South Room of the Civic Center for several years manned by a Corp of faithful Volunteers who became known as the “Cheese Ladies”. Ellen’s husband, Richard Overby, employed by Hansen Fruit, was able to store the cheese in one of the cold rooms.
In 1985, the food bank outgrew the church attic and the Selah Civic Center Board allowed the food bank to use 1/2 of the small room already occupied by S.H.A.R.E.’s clothing bank. The name was changed to the Selah Food Bank. By this time, Richard took over the management of the food bank. Excess perishable food supplies were stored at Hansen Fruit. Richard would make a list of needed items and collect them from the warehouse two times a week for distribution on food bank days.
When he retired from Hansen Fruit, the food could no longer be stored at Hansen’s. Father Mike Ibach allowed him to store supplies in his garage at the Rectory. When Father Patnode came, he needed the garage space. Bill White went to the Selah City Council for help to store the extra stock of food that would not fit in our half of the room shared with the SHARES clothing program. Next thing we knew the Selah School District called Bill White and through the generosity of the Selah School District, the food bank was able to rent a 1,000 square foot empty portable classroom for storage for $100 per month, which we are still utilizing today.