During the COVID-19 pandemic, food became a source of comfort for many. Many of us used that time to bake the perfect sourdough loaf or nail that tricky spaghetti carbonara. Along the way, Jonathan Welsh and Manzanita Fresh Foods was there for the residents of Manzanita, Oregon, providing a full-service grocery store focused on natural, specialty, organic, and environmentally-friendly products.

The pandemic was still difficult for Welsh and his store, forcing them to become more efficient and handle increased workloads. But now, Welsh sees an opportunity to reciprocate his success within the community that supports him.

That’s why he jumped at the opportunity to join Columbia Bank’s Pass It On Project. Manzanita Fresh Foods is giving backpacks full of fresh food to the Nehalem Elementary School Backpack Program and Columbia Bank is picking up the check. “The school year has just begun, and with the difficulties of COVID, this will assist those that may struggle with food needs,” says Welsh. “I hope this idea continues to grow. Passing it on should be the norm.”