Bellingham Food Bank Newsletter
   Spring 2015
In This Issue
In their own words

What do you most appreciate receiving at
the food bank?
"Fresh produce, and veggie seeds and starts so I can grow my own food at home."
"The variety of meats that are offered like chicken, beef and fish."

"The food's pretty great, but I also like seeing the smiles from all of the volunteers."

Joyce K

Feeling Blessed in So Many Ways



Who can say they've met Princess Grace, been blessed by the Pope, and walked after being told that they would never walk again? Our food bank families' stories are often surprising. And inspiring. This is certainly true for Joyce.


Joyce lived her early years on a farm in Ferndale with her parents and four sisters. When she was six tragedy struck--the farm burned and they lost everything. She says that's when she really learned about kindness. The whole community chipped in, and her family was soon moved into a fully-furnished house in Bellingham.


After graduating from Bellingham High School Joyce began working at Pay 'n' Save. However, she and a friend had dreamed about traveling in Europe, and they soon set off on an amazing trip. This was when Joyce met Princess Grace of Monaco, was blessed by the Pope on All Saints Day, and was arrested for flirting with Russian soldiers in East Berlin. She also met her future husband; he was the American soldier who escorted her and her friend back to Western Europe after their arrest.


Back home in the US Joyce married, had children, got divorced, and continued working while raising her family. In her forties, she developed health complications and became disabled. In 2004, she became extremely ill and could no longer walk. She went to live in a nursing home, and doctors said she would never walk again. But Joyce proved them wrong. In 2007 she regained her mobility and moved back into her own apartment.


It was at this time that Joyce also began visiting our food bank. "I was humbled, but learned other people just like me come here." Joyce says she's so thankful for the staff, volunteers, and everyone who donates. "The food bank allows me to get by each month on my limited income and to not go hungry. Everything about this place is a blessing." 



Bellingham Food Bank

Bellingham Food Bank
TTY 711 or 800-833-6388
1824 Ellis Street
Bellingham, WA 98225

Mike with BFB ag program

staff members

Max Morange and Julia Raider

Food For Thought

I never used to get excited by spring. In fact,

it used to make me rather depressed, as it meant winter's end. I'm a winter sport enthusiast. I love to be in the mountains  cross-country skiing or climbing. However, as it's done with many things in my life, our food bank has changed my perspective.


Spring is awesome! It now represents the start of one of my favorite aspects of the food bank--when all of the work of our agricultural programs really kicks in. Not so many years ago we did very little with the ag sector. Now we have a suite of programs that gives our food bank families access to hundreds of thousands of pounds of super fresh, hyper-local veggies. What began small and innocently enough has turned into a big piece of what we do here. 


Our Garden Project has built all 25 raised-bed veggie gardens for this year's group of new garden recipients and provided the soil, seeds, starts and support for them to grow their own food. As part of our Food Bank Fresh program, we've signed contracts with 11 great local farmers who will be growing tons of beets, carrots, cauliflower and other vegetables and selling them to us at below wholesale cost. Our gleaning program, Small Potatoes Gleaning Project, is already talking to other local farmers and reminding them that we have more than 100 volunteers who are eagerly waiting for the opportunity to harvest their farms' excess veggies. And Victory Garden participants have been picking up seeds from us that they'll grow into donated produce from their home gardens.


Last year these programs collectively resulted in 300,000 pounds of local produce for our families. In addition to providing a similar bounty this coming year, our ag programs will also continue to bring together a whole lot of amazing people who are growing community from the ground up.


Wow, I love spring. 


Mike Cohen
Executive Director

Mike and Kelly Wallace
Families Feeding Families

Mike and Kelly Wallace are regular donors to our food bank. Every month without fail, we receive a generous donation from this Whatcom County couple. It wasn't that long ago that they were customers here.


Mike and Kelly were introduced to each other by a mutual friend about 15 years ago. Both were relatively new to Bellingham, divorced, and working hard to establish their careers. After dating for some time they realized they were in love, got married, and eventually had a child together.


Their lives changed significantly when they received custody of children they each had from a previous marriage. Almost overnight, their family grew from three to eight. With more kids to feed life got more expensive. Mike and Kelly were both working full-time jobs that paid above minimum wage. However, it wasn't enough to cover all their costs, and soon they were coming to our food bank.


Fast forward a little more than a decade and a lot has changed. Mike is self-employed as a general contractor and is glad that business is picking up as the economy improves. Kelly has been working at T-Mobile for several years, and is now in a position that involves regular travel to corporate headquarters in Bellevue. And all but one of their kids has launched into adulthood.


Mike and Kelly say they support our food bank for several reasons. They both believe it is unfathomable to have hunger in a country as rich as America. "We also love the ingenuity Bellingham Food Bank uses to get good food to those that are hungry." And, they really like that BFB doesn't judge or question people who come. "We didn't qualify for food stamps when we used the food bank, but that doesn't mean we weren't in need."


Thank you Mike and Kelly for all of your ongoing support helping us feed Bellingham's families.




Rose Tinney
She's all About the TLC


Most people can't imagine an infant or toddler going hungry or being at a food bank. It's something we see far too often. Thankfully, Rose is on hand to ensure there's enough baby and toddler food bagged and ready for families to take home. Rose knows what it's like to go hungry. There was a time when she was a toddler that she didn't have enough to eat. She remembers always thinking of food, even dreaming about it.


For more than six years, Rose has carefully sorted hundreds of thousands of units of baby food--from little jars of veggies and fruits to boxes of cereals and infant formula. Every bag she assembles contains enough food for one infant or toddler for a week, and she ensures each bag contains a healthy and age-appropriate variety of foods.


You can often spot Rose in our back room dressed in her brightly-colored work scrubs. That's because she's usually volunteering either before or after her nursing shifts. Rose has worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant in a nursing home and for the last three years at PeaceHealth Medical Center. She provides care for patients who are there for a variety of reasons, including Alzheimer's, drug and alcohol issues, and those who are transitioning home after surgery. What she says she loves most about her work is providing TLC to those who are vulnerable and hurting. 


Besides her work and volunteering at BFB, Rose's other passion is dance. Lindy, hip-hop, salsa, swing; it doesn't matter what kind. She really enjoys connecting with people through music and movement. She says that Bellingham has quite a vibrant dance scene, but she also travels to San Francisco, Vancouver BC, and other cities. Wherever she goes, Rose loves meeting and dancing with a variety of people, all the way from toddlers to seniors. 




Plan to grow extra food in your garden and be a Victory Gardener. Click here for more info.


Host a Milk Money fundraiser! Click here to learn more.


Rescue local produce with our Small Potatoes Gleaning Project.

Click here to learn about SPGP.


Or call us today at (360) 676-0392!