SLIDE SHOW: Building community at the Covington Home Depot

Despite a few challenges, CovingtonHome Depot’s first contractor appreciation event and food drive was a success.

First there was the weather last Friday as it rained for the first time in a month, but organizers were able to bring the event under cover near one of the store entrances.

Ira Dunlap and Deena Purple, who work at the Contractor’s Services Desk at the Covington Home Depot, decided to incorporate the food drive into their inaugural event for contractors.

“The event went really well,” Dunlap said in an e-mail. “I think with the weather and having to adjust to a new set up site, it went well.”

Collections in the first week were “a little slow,” Dunlap said, but once everything wrapped up the pair were satisfied with the results.

This event was an opportunity for contractors, vendors and the public to all get together and a chance for Home Depot employees to express appreciation for the professionals they work with.

For Dunlap and Purple it seemed important given the current economic climate to give the event more meaning so it “had an impact.”

Dunlap said they collected $303 in cash donations and they had a substantial amount of food donations, too.

“The van was approximately three-quarters full,” he said.

Dunlap and Purple will deliver the donations to the food bank some time this week, the pair said.

Food drives like this are critical for the food bank’s survival as the staff has seen an increase in demand, but a decrease in donations.

According to data the food bank has collected from July to December 2008 there was a 45 percent increase in demand compared to the same period in 2007. In the meantime, there was a 38 percent decrease in food donations, which required a significant increase in food purchases to supplement inventory.

Food Bank executive director Lila Henderson told the Reporter in April how critical drives like Home Depot’s are for the non-profit’s survival.

“It’s nice to have (food drives) always going because it helps keep us in the limelight that the need is still out there,” she said.

To learn more about the Maple Valley Food Bank, log on to or call (425) 432-8139.