When Robin and Jim Morris of Richland invited friends and relatives to help celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, they made an unusual request.
They asked for food in lieu of gifts. Not for themselves, but donations of nonperishable food for the Tri-Cities Food Bank.
Their guests were generous, donating 700 pounds of food.
Kuki Benson, site manager for the food bank's Kennewick branch, said it was the largest food donation from an individual or family in the seven years she's been working there.
The couple is hoping the idea catches on.
"You don't have to wait 50 years" Robin Morris said. "This would be a great thing to do for any occasion."
The idea of food instead of gifts originated with Jim's relatives in North Carolina.
"It's what they did on their 50th wedding anniversary a few years ago," Robin Morris said. "We thought it was a great idea. When you've been married for 50 years you do not need a lot more stuff. We have stuff."
Her husband's relatives garnered 600 pounds of food.
"We wanted to do better. I just hoped people would remember because we sent the invitations out weeks in advance," she said.
The couple have lived in the Tri-Cities for 40 years. Robin Morris is a retired Richland High School teacher and Jim Morris recently retired from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
"So we have deep connections with this community. We wanted to give back and give others a chance to give back too," Robin Morris said. "We were just delighted last Friday night when people came with their food donations. We had 140 people at the party."
They also received $100 in cash to give to the food banks.
Benson picked up the food Dec. 6 at the Country Gentleman restaurant in Kennewick, where the anniversary party was held.
"Anything we get, especially this time of year, makes a big difference. And it doesn't matter if it's five pounds or 700, anything we get is always welcome," Benson said.
On Monday the Kennewick branch received another gift. Richland Life Care Center filled one of its passenger vans with 1,500 pounds of mixed grocery items and dropped it off.
"Every bit counts for us. I know it's a burden, even if you can afford it. All I can say is thank you to everyone who donates," Benson said.
Local branches of the Tri-Cities Food Bank can always use meat, and with the holidays coming up again, are looking for turkeys, chickens and hams.
The Kennewick branch, 420 Deschutes Ave., is open from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. for food giveaways, and from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for donations. It's phone number is 586-0688.
The Benton City branch, 712 10th St., is open from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesdays and from noon to 2:30 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays. It can be reached at 588-5454.
The Richland branch, 321 Wellsian Way, is open from 9to 11:30 a.m.. Call 943-2795.
w Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org