Friday, June 02, 2023

Volunteers make sandwiches for folks in need

Staff Writer | June 23, 2020 11:49 PM

MOSES LAKE — When the COVID-19 pandemic hit hard in mid-March, most things across Washington ground to a halt.

At least for a few weeks.

But not the tiny group of volunteers who make up Care Sacks, the organization that provides sack lunches for the homeless and needy in Moses Lake.

“We took that first week off,” said a masked Michaelle Boetger as she spread peanut butter on slices of bread. “But the need is still there for people wanting something to eat. That never stops, so we never stop.”

“Besides wearing a mask, we’re still being clean and wiping things down and wearing gloves,” she added.

Serve Moses Lake, the interdenominational group that provides help to the area’s poor and homeless, is closed until Phase 3, Boetger said, so right now, the 60 or so sandwiches they make every Tuesday night in the kitchen of Youth Dynamics in downtown Moses Lake go to the city’s food bank.

“Another group also makes 60 sandwiches,” she said. “The food bank hands out between 25 and 30 every day, which is a lot.”

Boetger’s husband, Jeremy, arranged 60 small open paper bags into which he put a bag of chips, a granola bar, and a small cup of apple sauce to accompany the peanut butter and jam sandwiches. Normally, they would be helped by a youth group — up to a dozen teenagers — but not today.

Since the COVID-19 closures, it’s been both Boetgers along with fellow Care Sacks volunteers Pam Nordin and Carol Bridges at work making lunches.

“It’s a small way that I can help the community,” Nordin said, spooning jam onto bread.

“We’re trying not to have big groups, and some of our volunteers backed out,” Boetger said. “Usually the four of us can whip things out pretty quick.”

And normally, Boetger said they would be looking for volunteers. But mostly, she said, they need donations to keep the program going. They get some help from Grocery Outlet, which in Moses Lake has made Care Sacks the recipient of its annual Independence From Hunger fundraiser this July.

Boetger estimates that each lunch costs around $1.25 to make, so $5 will buy four lunches, and donations can be made at Grocery Outlet or directly on the Care Sacks website.

“Any support helps keep us going,” she said.

Especially once Serve Moses Lake opens — whenever that will be — as Boetger said Care Sacks would like to keep making sandwiches for the Moses Lake Food Bank as well as resume making lunch bags for the ministerial group.

“Everybody needs help every once in a while,” Boetger said.


Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald Michelle Boetger, a volunteer with Care Sacks, makes peanut butter sandwiches at Youth Dynamics on Tuesday. Every week, the group makes 60 bag lunches for the homeless and others in need.

Recent Headlines