A local cleaning company is partnering with the Columbia Pacific Food Bank to give back to the community this holiday season.
TexCo Cleaning is offering a special deal if people donate five cans of food to the Columbia Pacific Food Bank for a Thanksgiving food drive.
“We partnered with the Columbia County food bank; that way we are giving back to those who are struggling right now with the inflation rates, with the unemployment rates, with recent businesses closing in Columbia County,” TexCo co-owner James Lee said. “There’s a need out here that isn’t being helped by the Portland metro area.”
Chrissy Marquardt, who is the Marketing and Events Manager for Columbia Pacific Food Bank, said that partnerships like this are critical as they see more people come through the door looking for resources. This coincides with a decrease in food being supplied to the food bank at a regional and national level.
“It is a great way to give back to the community. Of course, the dollars can go far, but actual food, especially during the holidays, as more people are going to come in the door, it’s a wonderful partnership,” Marquardt said. “Plus, it’s a chance to promote and support a local business as well.”
The drive will last from Nov. 1 until Nov. 20. The special deal is that after paying the minimum rate of $175 for cleaning, TexCo Cleaning will waive the cost of cleaning additional rooms with a donation of canned goods.
“So if they donate five canned goods or food products or whatever they would like, then we will clean secondary areas for free, which is normally a $45 value,” Lee said.
The fee is to support travel to the house and the standard cleaning fee. People often will pay for treatments or additional rooms, but with a donation, the additional fee will be waived.
Lee is part owner of TexCo Cleaning, but his full-time job is as a firefighter in Hillsboro. Though his business partner handles the carpet cleaning full-time, Lee said he has formed strong relationships within the community that have inspired him to give back.
“We wanted to make sure that we were giving back and supporting the community that supports us,” Lee said.
Lee said that this effort is part of trying to maintain the small-town community culture that exists throughout Columbia County. Lee said that giving back in smaller communities feels more personal.
Lee wanted to make sure that people know that their customer base is not limited to Columbia County. They are letting all their customers in Multnomah County, Washington County, and others know about the deal.
“Even those customers that are not in the Columbia County food bank area can donate, participate in the program, and then we will donate it all back to the Columbia County food bank,” Lee said.
Columbia Pacific Food Bank at work
Marquardt said that TexCo Cleaning reached out to the food bank, and she appreciated their proactive approach. Marquardt noted that sometimes, organizations will host food drives and show up with large quantities of food without communicating that they are doing it.
While the food bank always appreciates the donations, Marquardt said that a “heads up” is appreciated for planning purposes so the food bank can accurately keep an inventory of what they have in stock and what food products they need.
Marquardt said during regular business hours, on average, the food bank serves between 30 and 50 clients per day. During their evening hours, which are once a week on Wednesdays, the food bank serves anywhere from 10 to 20 families.
“Probably anywhere from between 600 to 1,000 families per month that pass through our doors. Sometimes, those are repeat customers, sometimes those are brand new clients,” Marquardt said. “The food bank, just statistically speaking, we distribute anywhere between 12 to 18 tons of food per week throughout Columbia County.”
Marquardt said that Columbia Pacific Food Bank may be located in St. Helens, but they distribute food to Scappoose, Rainier, Clatskanie, Vernonia, and other food pantries and partner agencies around Columbia County.
Some of the items that Marquardt is hoping will be donated are shelf-stable products. Examples of these would be canned goods or pasta. The food bank will also accept produce and meat, but there are some limitations.
“When we put together our emergency food boxes for our clients, the majority of the items in those boxes are shelf-stable goods. We can accept meat, but it has to be USDA certified,” Marquardt said. “We also accept fresh produce. Please bring your produce to the food bank because we have that free produce area that is open to the public, and people will come and take those. I would say shelf-stable products, fresh produce, depending on the time of the year, and then meat in that order.”
The collection barrel for the drive will be at the Columbia Pacific Food Bank, and as TexCo Cleaning collects items to be donated, they will bring them to the donation site.