Thanks to a $5,000 donation on Dec. 12 from the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Lighthouse Storehouse Food Center in Fife will soon have a central heating system installed after getting through without for as long as the center has existed. Pastor Ken Banks, who runs Lighthouse Storehouse, said he is very grateful for the Tribe’s gift in that Lighthouse volunteers will no longer have to work in the cold when the weather turns wintry.
“The heating is such a huge part simply because it’s freezing in there so now we can install the heating system and I’m stoked,” said Banks, “We’ve been without heating for going on four years.”
From the outside, the building at 6202 20th St. E. in Fife looks like any other average warehouse but inside it is bustling with activity, all in the name of helping those who need a hand up. Over the past four years the center has, bit by bit, reached new heights, including receiving its 501c3 non-profit status this year. Banks said the tribe’s donation confirms that he and the center’s many volunteers are on the right path in their efforts. “Spiritually, it’s another stamp of approval from God that we’re going to make it.”
Banks said that the volunteers, many of whom are members of Banks’ church, Bread from Heaven in Kent, are the heart and soul of Lighthouse. He gives thanks for every one of them. “We couldn’t do it without them. They’ve stood the test of time with us and stood by through these cold times – everybody that’s been on board with us, we greatly appreciate it. This is happening because of them. The thousands of people that we help, if I was there by myself it would never get done.” Banks also praised his landlords, who he said have been staunch and generous Lighthouse supporters.
As Lighthouse Storehouse Food Center continues to grow, its needs in various areas continue to grow as well. Volunteers are always welcome and hours at Lighthouse will satisfy community service requirements, “from schools to the jails,” as Banks said. Financial donations are warmly received. “Our whole sole survival is on the financial support of others who give to Lighthouse Storehouse. That’s how we’ve been surviving. We don’t have any other type of income coming in,” Banks said. The center has no paid staff, which Banks would like to see changed
“One of the things that I’m looking at is to have enough donations come in that we can bring in a couple of staff, like a driver. We need a driver real bad to help make the deliveries and do the runs so that I can focus on other things instead of pulling me out all the time to make the runs.”
Of course, donations of goods are always on the wish list, like non-perishable foods, household items and personal care products such as diapers, soaps and shampoos – things that Lighthouse clients need to take care of their families.
“I remember one lady, her dishwasher was gone and she didn’t have a working sink but she said if she just had some paper plates and cups and plastic silverware they could make it. Those are the types of items that we see need to be met,” Banks said.
One of the services Lighthouse provides is to help clients secure an income, or increase what they already do make, so Banks – a certified forklift trainer – gives forklift trainings. He and his volunteers are praying that Lighthouse will secure a better working forklift. “We still need to see about acquiring a better forklift that is OSHA approved that we can train tribal members and anyone that needs a specialized certificate for training.”
Donations from produce companies and produce warehouses would also be a godsend to add to Lighthouse’s store of nutritious food. A refrigerated truck is another item on the Lighthouse prayer list, which Banks said some donating companies require so that the food they give won’t spoil between their refrigerated systems and the refrigerators at Lighthouse. “They don’t want to risk contamination between them giving it and us getting it to our storehouse. It’s a liability thing,” he said.
Also visit http://lighthousestorehouse.blogspot.com. The center is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
As Pastor Banks says, “Our goal is to meet the needs of the community one family at a time.”