A minister in King County felt a calling to feed the hungry in the region. A facility in Fife plays a key role in carrying out that Godly mission.
Pastor Kenneth Banks and his wife, First Lady Sister Juanita Banks, established Bread from Heaven Church in Kent eight years ago. About five years ago, prior to the onset of the recession, Banks noticed a need for food among local families. This level of need increased as the economy soured and people began losing their jobs. "We wanted to do something about it," Banks remarked.
Seeking direction, he prayed. He discussed the situation with his co-pastor at the time. They began distributing food at the church every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. "Churches need to impact the community," Banks said.
He reached out to people who did not attend his church, especially the growing population of immigrants in south King County. As people came to his church each Saturday, the need for an adequate source of food and a space large enough to distribute it became apparent. "Our little pantry was too small," Banks said.
Banks had a vision of someday feeding thousands of people, as Jesus did when he fed thousands with two fish and five loaves of break.
He found an ideal spot in Fife. A business had been using an industrial space. The lease expired and the business left. Banks signed and lease in October 2010 and spent a month with others cleaning and renovating the space, which he named Lighthouse Storehouse Food Resource Center. "We were blessed to find the location in Fife," he said.
It is 3,500 square feet with a walk-in freezer and refrigerator. It receives food donated from grocery store chains such as Costco and Safeway and from food distributors around the Puget Sound. From there it is distributed to churches and food banks in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties and eastern Washington five days a week. On Saturdays some of the food is taken to Bread of Heaven to give to families in Kent.
All the work is done by volunteers. Banks said there are seven who donate their time on a frequent basis. Churches have sent groups of volunteers. At some point he would like to be able to hire a full-time employee.
Lighthouse Storehouse gets a lot of dry and canned good. It also receives much produce, donated by a ministry in Yelm and farmers in King County. "That is one thing we bring to the table we are very thankful for." Banks would like to get more meat donated. With Easter coming up, he would like to distribute 300 to 500 hams. "Some dairy products would be nice as well."
"This is my life's work," Banks said. "We are thankful to be able to do this."
Lighthouse Storehouse is located at 6202 20th St. E. in Fife. For more information, call Banks at (253) 569-8783.