Bellingham Food Bank Newsletter
Spring 2016
In This Issue
In their own words

What is your favorite produce to get at BFB?
 
  
"Carrots, greens, potatoes, cauliflower."
  

"My kids love the broccoli, radishes, and green beans."


"Any and all local stuff, especially strawberries, kale, and corn!


CLIENT STORY
Harrison D.
Food Brings People Together
 
     

Harrison is in his thirties, has a very friendly and outgoing personality, and he likes to work hard. He begins his shifts at Trader Joe's at 4:00 in the morning. Throughout the day he stocks shelves, handles freight in the warehouse, and provides customer service at the registers. Harrison has a Pharmacy Tech degree and had previously worked in pharmacies. However, he decided to make the switch to the grocery business once he found he could earn a larger wage.

Two years ago Harrison was transferred to Bellingham from Seattle. He says he was really glad for the move and "a chance to experience something different." Here he met and married his wife Megan, a WWU graduate and administrator in the field of human resources.

Harrison has a wide range of interests. His hobbies are photography, art, and cooking. He also enjoys helping others create meal plans for healthy eating. A history buff, Harrison studies and is nearly fluent in German, and he says he would love to visit Germany. And he dreams of someday living in a cabin in the "wilds of Alaska." Although he's not sure his wife would be keen on that idea.

Harrison's first experience with a food bank was as a child. Born and raised in Seattle, he grew up in a large family headed by a single parent. "There were times we just didn't have enough to eat, and the food bank got us by." When he got older Harrison volunteered at food banks in his area.

Currently Harrison's on reduced hours at work and will soon be having surgery. He'll be out for four-to-six weeks on limited medical disability pay. And this comes at a time when his wife is unemployed and looking for work.

"Food brings people together, and Bellingham Food Bank provides an amazing service. For anyone in between paychecks, it's an absolute lifesaver. We come here because we have to. But it's so great to be at a place where people are friendly, where it's set up like a grocery store. This place provides good food and a feeling of normalcy, rather than shame."


Bellingham Food Bank
360-676-0392
TTY 711 or 800-833-6388
  
  

1824 Ellis Street
Bellingham, WA 98225


Food For Thought
Celebrating Our Everyday Heroes

Did you know there is a National Volunteer Week in April to promote appreciation for volunteers? That's pretty great; however at Bellingham Food Bank we appreciate and celebrate our volunteers every day. Because, in a word, they are incredible.

I remember how amazed I was during my first week at the food bank in fall 2004. We had about 60 volunteers, mainly seniors, working in really tough conditions. Our building was extremely outdated and run-down. Yet these dedicated folks were willing to do anything and most were volunteering several shifts a week. That year they contributed 12,000 hours of their labor and provided service for nearly 70,000 client visits.

Currently we have more than 380 volunteers. Last year they donated 36,000 hours and provided service for nearly 150,000 visits. Our volunteers range in age, background, and life experiences. Our youngest is in middle school and our oldest is in her 80s. Some are motivated by faith, some by social justice, and most just want to give back. They sort food and assist our food bank families, glean produce in farmers' fields, build veggie gardens in families' backyards and provide support for those new gardeners, and they rescue food at grocery stores.

Our volunteers' contributions can't be summed up solely by their hours of labor. In a way, the best of their work is immeasurable. At BFB we seek to support our guests with dignity and kindness, and that's reflected in the work of our volunteers. They bring a profound empathy and understanding to all they do. Their smiles and many expressions of kindness are extraordinary.

A lot has changed here over the last decade. We've built two new buildings, launched several new programs, and we're handing out a greater quantity and quality of food to more families. However, throughout all the changes the love, commitment and energy of our volunteers have remained constant. It's a true honor to get to work with them. And our entire community is in debt to these everyday heroes. Please join me in thanking and celebrating them for all they give.
 
Mike Cohen
Executive Director

   
DONOR SPOTLIGHT
Whatcom Educational Credit Union
Do Good, Feel Good
  
Whatcom Educational Credit Union (WECU) and its members are all about community. They have been outstanding supporters of Bellingham Food Bank for many years, especially of our Food4Tots and Milk Money programs, providing thousands of jars of baby food and thousands of gallons of milk for food bank families. WECU also helps educate Whatcom County about local hunger issues.

WECU is a non-profit financial cooperative that has served our community since 1936. Its mission is "to provide the means for members to achieve their dreams, to strive to treat both members and staff with honesty and integrity and to be a socially responsible part of our community. WECU also endeavors to be one of the county's employers of choice." 

WECU's credo is Do Good, Feel Good and its focus on doing good in the community makes it a fun and positive place to work. Reid Frederick is WECU's Social Responsibility Committee coordinator. The committee's focus is education, health, and community concerns. As coordinator, Reid spearheads WECU's support for our food bank and other nonprofit organizations, and he also gets to do other really cool work. He leads many of WECU's financial education activities, volunteer efforts, and the United Way campaign.

Ten years ago Reid started as a teller, and he has seen quite a few changes since then. The number of employees has doubled, several more branches have been opened, and electronic banking has skyrocketed. Yet through all the growth and changes, WECU's connection to and support of our community has remained steadfast. Reid credits WECU's mission and philanthropic leadership for its strong local impact.

Reid sees the importance of the food bank's services when providing financial education in our community. He says, "Food is a basic need and yet it is often the only part of a budget that is flexible. After people pay their rent, transportation, childcare, and healthcare, the grocery budget is the only cost that can be adjusted. Bellingham Food Bank really helps folks that have little or no discretionary income."

Thank you WECU for your amazing support for our food bank families, and for all you do in our community. We look forward to many more years of partnership!

FOOD BANK HERO
Bill Pearsall
He Delivers

Bill's a behind-the-scenes kind of guy, diligently getting the job done with little fanfare. He's not one to talk a lot about himself, and he's not used to having his picture taken. But that didn't stop us from tagging along with him during his shift, though it was tough keeping up with him.

Every Monday Bill's here early helping our warehouse crew Matt and Roland unload nearly 20,000 pounds of food from Food Lifeline. He then helps restack the freight onto pallets for distribution to our food bank partners. He also helps unload our grocery rescue truck and stocks the distribution room for our shoppers.

That's a whole lot of lifting and stacking! But Bill's used to handling freight. In his twenties he worked for Swan's Moving Company delivering families' possessions all over the country. Following that he spent 25-plus years with Yellow Freight Company, making deliveries for various businesses. About two years ago Bill retired and was encouraged to volunteer at BFB. And he's been helping us move stuff ever since.

"I really like working with Bill. No job is too big or too small for him, and he gets along with both Roland and I, which is saying something," quips Matt with a grin. Bill says the thing he likes most about BFB is working with the staff and volunteers and that "everyone's so respectful here; no one is turned away."

Bill and his wife Sandy have lived in Bellingham for 30 years and have four kids age 18-26 years. And he's pretty proud of their kids. What does Bill do for fun? The Pearsall clan loves to watch the Cooking Channel on TV and try out new recipes. And now that he's retired, Bill likes to have dinner waiting for Sandy when she gets home from work. Bill's other passions are sports and music. He's coached and played basketball and coached rugby. He also enjoys going to The Green Frog and other venues to listen to local bands. 

So much for slowing down in retirement. Thanks Bill for keeping us moving, and for all you do to help feed our neighbors.

 

 

 

 WANT TO HELP? 

  • Grow extra food in your garden for BFB and be a Victory Gardener (and get an awesome sign for your yard!)
  • Rescue local produce with our Small Potatoes Gleaning Project
  • Host a Milk Money or Food4Tots fundraiser

 

Learn more on our website under Getting Great Food, or call us!

 


Bellingham Food Bank | 1824 Ellis Street | Bellingham | WA | 98225