IMPACT CW Food Drive Back for 10th Year Helping Local Families

Impact CW

IMPACT Camas-Washougal, organized by St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Washougal, is celebrating ten years of making a difference and impacting local lives. Their annual event to pack food donations for school families needing assistance during summer break is Sunday, June 9 at noon at Parker’s Landing Historical Park at the Port of Camas-Washougal. The entire community is welcome. 

IMPACT CW started as a call to action from Pastor Bob Barber of St. Matthew Lutheran Church. It began with the last sermon in a series titled “Be the Difference.” But instead of delivering a sermon that Sunday, Pastor Barber told the congregation “We’re going shopping today.” 

“This was the culmination of the sermon series, emphasizing the fact everyone in our community is our neighbor and it is our call from Christ to aid our neighbors,” explained Scott Friedrich, Impact CW volunteer. “In the first year the focus was on the need of the families of students at Excelsior High School in Washougal for food items to get them through the month-long gap between the end of the school year and the beginning of the summer food program.”

After Pastor announced the intent of that Sunday, Irene Kratzke, long-time church member said “This is something we always needed to do. We just needed someone to show us how.” 

During the actual shopping, one of the church members was asked by another shopper “Is this a scavenger hunt?” to which they gleefully replied “No, it’s church!”

Over the past decade, Impact CW has grown from that semi-spontaneous act of kindness, into a meticulously planned and executed event that serves every school in the Camas and Washougal School Districts. The event day is not just the prepping of the food boxes, but also a free BBQ and concert by the Community Orchestra, for anyone who shows up. 

Dedicated volunteers spend the whole year preparing, planning, raising funds and getting the word out about Impact CW. The focus is more than serving the community, but to encourage the community to get involved. Last year they had over seventy volunteers from the community come out to help pack and load the food boxes.

“I’m hopeful that when people help people they will want to continue to pass that kindness on to others and make kindness a part of their everyday lives,” said Marylin Yates, who has been integral to Impact CW from its start.

Impact CW

Brandon Roberts, who volunteered alongside a sizable group from Windermere Crest Realty Co. in Camas, comments “It’s just a way to give back and help the community in which we serve.”

Beth Raetz, church Office Administrator and volunteer from the inception of Impact CW, when asked what impact this has made on the community said, “It’s been very rewarding to be able to touch the lives of the people in our community who are our neighbors. Not just those we help with the food, but also all the many people who get involved and help make Impact CW possible.  Counselors from each school are also an integral part of the process.”

When asked what the biggest difference he has seen over the past ten years of Impact CW, Pastor Bob remarked, “We have significantly more volunteers from the community now. It has become a true community event. Much more streamlined and efficient. The first couple of years it took all day to pack twenty-five or thirty boxes. Now, with the help of the community, it takes about an hour to pack nearly 200 boxes.”

“St. Matthew is a church dedicated to our community and going out into that community to help. Impact CW is just one aspect of what has become a congregational attitude of willing service,” said Friedrich.

For those unable to attend the event who want to help, they can make a financial gift (to pre-purchase all the food and Safeway gift cards).  Donors can visit www.impactcamaswashougal.org or send a check to St. Matthew Lutheran Church at 716 Washougal River Road, Washougal, WA 98671.  Checks can also be dropped off at the church Tuesdays-Fridays 9:30 am – 12:30 pm.  For more information, contact Raetz at the church office at 360-835-5533 or  [email protected] / impactcamaswashougal.org

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