2020 Annual Report Helping Hands

helpinghandsfb

A Year in Review. Together we served over 700,000 individuals in 2020. Thank you for your continued support! You are Helping Hands. We invite you to reflect with us in our 2020 Annual Report.

360.856.2211

helpinghandsfoodbank.org

PO Box 632

Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284


“A real community is one where people look out for each other, and

help friends and neighbors facing challenges. Helping Hands offers

daily proof that Skagit County is such a community, where every person

is treated with respect and dignity. We are proud to be a part of it.”

Robert and Rebecca Gates


staff to make sure they had the support they needed became a weekly

occurrence. The staff consistently went above and beyond to ensure

that food was available to those in need, regardless of where they

lived. With the support of the National Guard, our team was able to

serve over 710,000 individuals at thirteen satellite distribution points

and distribute seven million pounds of food. The scale and volume of

these statistics are truly staggering.

Once our processes and procedures were in place, the support poured

in from the community! Without this unprecedented community support,

Helping Hands would not have been able to serve the community in the

way we did. Through your generous contributions, Helping Hands

raised over $1.6 million in 2020. A year where the overall cost of food

was up 402% and there was unprecedented expenditures at seemingly

every turn. Helping Hands also took on the responsibility of making

sure Alger, Hamilton, Concrete, MarbleMount, Anacortes, MVHS sites

were supplied with food and PPE. We truly would not have been able

to do it without the support of our donors.

UNPRECEDENTED SUPPORT

Macklin Hamilton – Vice President, Board of Directors

In 2020, the Board of Directors was faced with

a challenge: supporting the staff of Helping

Hands in distributing food to those who needed

it most in Skagit County, during a global

pandemic. Writing organizational policies, local

and state level advocacy, and checking in with

As we move into 2021, we are thrilled to have the continued support of

the National Guard, whose orders to continue operational support of

Helping Hands were recently extended through June 2021. Their

constant support, innovation, and answer to the call of duty has been

inspiring and integral to the success of Helping Hands in 2020, and will

continue well into 2021. Thank you for your service.

BOARD OF

DIRECTORS

President

Karl de Jong

City Council,

Sedro-Woolley

Vice President

Macklin Hamilton

Cascades Job

Corps Center

Secretary

Tony Smith

Sedro-Woolley

School District

Treasurer

Racheal Scholler

National Cascades

Institute

Members

Brian Williams

Retired

Jim Kaufman

Retired

Virginia Good

Safeway

If you are reading this newsletter, it is because you are a donor and

stakeholder of Helping Hands. I appreciate your ongoing support and

contributions, it is both appreciated and important. On behalf of the

Board of Directors, I want to say thank you. We look forward to

continuing to nourish our community with kindness and respect without

judgment in 2021 and beyond!

360.856.2211

PO Box 632

Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284

To set up a recurring

donation, please visit

helpinghandsfoodbank.org/donate

3


A YEAR IN REVIEW

Rebecca Larsen – Executive Director

THANK YOU

TO OUR MANY

SUPPORTERS!

Arliss Abbott

Dale Abbott

M.F Abbott

Sandarah Abrahamson

Cynthia Adams

Michael Adams

Evelyn Adams

Jacqueline Aiken

Larry Alderman

Judy Alexander

Susan Allen

Jacqueline Allison

Glenda Alm

Arlene Andersen

Julie Anderson

H.E. Anderson

Mary Anderson

Christine Anderson

Linda Anderson

Joyce Anderson

Roy Anderson

Arlene H. Anderson

Kris Anderson

Larry Andre

Pavle Anicic

Marie Anthony

Krista Applewhite

Milton Armstrong

Larry Ashe

Shazia Aslam

Michelle Axelson

M.D & R.L Ayers

Gary Aylward

Stephanie Bachmeier

Alexandra Baginski

Judith R Baker

Katherine Baker

Darryl Baker

Karen Bakke

Tess Bakke

Terri Bakke-Schultz

Suzanne Balam

Marsha Ballentine

James Ballew

David Barnard

Debbie Barney

Rebecca Barrett

Richard Barror

Elisabeth Bart

Daniel Barter

Rebecca Barth

Wendy Bartholomew

Patricia Barton

Toni Bateman

The world was challenged in 2020 in a way that

most people had never witnessed. We saw

communities rally behind essential workers,

grocery store shelves empty, masks, loved ones

locked behind glass windows and everyone

pivoting to find a new normal.

We even saw the rise of new words: Social distancing, contract tracing,

and my favorite, maskne. I remember my first email to the Executive

Director in Bellingham asking him, "What are you doing about this COVID

thing?" It seems like a lifetime ago that the Board of Directors had its last

in person meeting to decide the path Helping Hands was going to take

during this pandemic.

Fast forward to 2021 and I am writing this article "A Year in Review". Part

of me wants to share the tears, struggles, anxiety and fears with you all.

But my thoughts lead me back to all the amazing things that happened.

Helping Hands pulled together one of the most Herculean efforts I have

ever witnessed. From the donors, Board of Directors to the staff, National

Guard and volunteers, together we served 425% more individuals over

2019. 710,000 individuals received 7 million pounds of food and 85,500

food bags went to children.

Helping Hands was able to expand all our programs to every corner of

Skagit County and beyond. We never said no and that brought more

donors, volunteers and National Guard to help support the mission to

serve everyone without judgment.

Weekly I would get a letter with a donors check thanking me for all that we

were doing for the community. Little did they know that we were doing all

we could knowing that it might not be enough. We have had our voice

heard in Olympia and Washington DC basically begging for the support

and help we deserved and it has been amazing to see the support we

have had.

So thank you to all who gave their resources to help us this year. If you

gave time, energy, funds, or prayers, thank you. You made me stronger

everyday to keep this mission going. I have personally never felt so

supported. I am making a promise to the whole community today.

4


We all know 2021 didn't arrive with the end of COVID and everything

opening back up. We are facing another unknown, "What does the

recovery time look like?"

We know families will need us even more. My challenge to you is to stay

supportive of our mission. Please give us your time, energy and resources

and in turn we will not let you down. We will keep speaking for those that

have no voice, we will keep feeding those in our neighborhoods that need

food and we will add programs that support the recovery process of our

community.

Will you continue to walk with us during this crisis and pandemic? Will you

challenge your family and friends to make your community stronger? Will

you call your representatives and make Skagit County's voice heard? We

have lots of ways to help and stay connected. Give us a call at (360) 856-

2211 or visit our website at www.helpinghandsfoodbank.org. You can also

follow us on Facebook @helpinghandsfoodbank and Instagram & Twitter

@helpinghandsfb.

Thank you for allowing me to serve my community as the Executive

Director at Helping Hands. You make me stronger and moving forward to

always push for change and making this community great.

David Bates

Don Bates

Debra Bazinet

Sharon Beach

Jacqueline Beamer

Kathy Bechtol

Moureen Beddall

Alexa Bednarz

Cookson Beecher

Josefina Beecher

Greg Behrman

Jon & Carol Beima

Michael Belisle

Carol Beltrand

Janice Bennett

Harold Bennett

Sarah Berentson

Brianne Berger

Diane Berglund

Christine Bergman

Tony Berkman

Dennis Berry

Mavis Betz

Loretta Betz

Krista Bieren

David Bigge

Stephen Billick

Sara Birkett

Claude Blackburn

Christine Blair

Freyll Blanc

Raymond W Blank

Marie Blits

Tamara Blunt

Patsey Blunt

Virginia Bode

Neil Boeh

Sally Bogan-Kirk

Cheryl Bolden

Wesley Bone

Abigail Borchert

Eric Bosell

George Bosler

David Bostrom

Dillon Boten

Randy Boucher

John Bouslog

Joan Bovee

Karen Bowden

Alexis Bowen

Kevin Boyd

Mary Brady

Martha Bray

John Breckenridge

Lisa Marie Brems

Gayle Brenchley

Cathy Brennan

Jason Brisson

Tressa Brodie

Joseph C Brooks

Gabrielle Brower

Debbie Brown

Ronald Brown

James Brown

Dee Brown

Jeremy Brown

Allen Brown

Shirley Brown

Kirk Brownell

Justine Browning

Darby Broyles

Susanne Bruland

5


Erin Brumbaugh

Kurt Buchanan

Thomas Buckingham

Mount Vernon Building Center

Jodie Buller

Wendy Bullock

Rebecca Bunke

Debra Buntting

Beth Burger-Price

Marjean Burke

Joseph Burns

Katja Burrough

Janice Burwash

Tim & Cinda Busch

Suzanne Butler

Yvonne Buysman

Ann Buzaitis

James Caddell

Bonnie Callander

Kyle Caneva

Roger Capron

Connie Carman

Laura Carman

Sheila Carrigg

Betsy Carroll

Margaret Carrow

Nona Carter

Donna Carter

Hunter Cates

Ashley Catucci

Michael Cervera

Nancy Chamberlain

Alan Chandler

Rodney Chandler

Samantha Chang

Penny Chapman

Robert P Chase

Megan Chatt

Eric Chauvin

Suzanne Cheadle

Gretchen Chen

Barbara Cheyney

Ronald & Susan Chiabai

Judith Chilcote

Ronald Ian Ching

Emily Chong

Linda Christensen

Sarah Christensen

David & Jean Christensen

Susan Christensen

Peggy Christian

Malia Christiansen

Suzanne Christianson

Toni Christianson

Pamela Christison

Kathy Christoffer

Lawrence Cimoch

Jan Cimoch

Rebecca Clark

David Clark

Steve Clarke

Rebecca Clemans

Terry Close

Robert Cochran

Nancy Cochran

Robert Coffey

Sherri Cole

Deanna Collins

Joan Collins

Cynthia Collins

Susanne Conijn

Kathlean Conner

6

TABLE OF CONTENTS

UNPRECEDENTED SUPPORT

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

A YEAR IN REVIEW

THANK YOU SUPPORTERS

BY THE NUMBERS

INTRODUCTION TO THE TEAM

MEANINGFUL CONTRIBUTIONS

RISING TO THE CHALLENGE

A HELPING HAND

GIVING BIRTH TO MORE HELPING HANDS

ANACORTES 100

STUFFING THE BUS

NEW PARTNERSHIPS

A PLACE OF LOVE

...3

...3

...4-5

...4-7, 9-21

...7

...9

...10-12

...14-16

...18

...19-20

...21

...22-23

...25-26

...27-28


DONATIONS

92,505 volunteer hours

BY THE NUMBERS

FOOD

Thank you to Costco, Draper, Trident, Fred Meyer,

Food Lifeline, Pacific Coast and so many more

food donors that made this possible.

Deborah Connolly

Larry Cook

Judy Cookson

Rachel Cooney

Stephanie Cooper

Celeste Corcoran

Peggy-Mike Corning

Leslie Cornish

Sandra Cornish

Lynn Costello

Laurie Cottingham

Charles Cowles

Leslie Crandall

Barbara Crawford

C.W. Crider

Joan Cromley

Brian Crompton

Shannon Crossley

Becky Cullup

Joyce Curry

Sandra Curtis

Misty Curtright

Letty Curvers

Hanne Dalmut

Russell Dalton

Jeanne Daly

Keris Daman

Megan M Dana

Andrea Dana

Melanie Davidson

Deborah Davis

Lou Ann Davis

Donald Davis

Ken and Pam Davis

Mary Davis

Margaret Davis

Jennifer Dawes

Kevin Dawson

John Day

Melvin Decker

Arsene De Conde

Ken Deering

Dorothy de Fremery

Scott Degraw

K de Jong

Melba Dekok

Millard Deline

Jeffrey DeMet

Caron Dennett

Margaret Dente

Luke Deryckx

Margaret Desko

Matthew DesVoigne

William Devlin

Marilyn Didway

Molly Dight

Barbara Dills

Thomas Doan

David Doherty

Evelyn P Domby

Fritzi Donaldson

Anonymous Donor

Melissa Dougher

Ardella A Douglas

Mary Ann Douglas

Megan Douglas

Charley Drake

James Duffy

John Dyngen

Barbara Eades

Pamela Eagan

Gina Eakin

continued on page... 9

7



INTRODUCTION TO THE TEAM

We would like to introduce our new team members. COVID-19 hit the whole

community hard and Helping Hands responded by opening up services to

anyone in need all over Skagit County. During 2020 we looked at our

resources and knew in order to support the needs in Skagit County, we had

to add people to our team. We would like to introduce: Amanda Huffstetler,

Support & Development Coordinator; Rick Baillie, Deputy Director; Jake

Hildebrand, Warehouse Assistant; Kim Engberg, Administrative Assistant

and Emily Elliott, Volunteer Coordinator to this amazing team. They all

come from different backgrounds, but we know their hard work will help

feed Skagit County.

Erin Earles

Jason Easton

Gail V. Ebel-Higgins

Larry Edwards

N.Jay Edwards

Constance Edwards

Norma Edwards

Kelsey Eickhoff

Kyndra Eide

Emily Elliot

Phil Elverum

Roger & Beth Emerson

Roger & Mary Emerson

James Emery

James Engberg

Christine Engelhardt

Pamela Englett

Cheryl Ensing

Marilee Erickson

Emily Erie

Gail Ermi

Amy Cameron Eskeberg

Louise Eusterman

Michael Evans

Terri Ewing

Glenda Exner

Susan Fahey

Jay Fallihee

Christine Farrow

Beverly Faxon

Irene Feddema

Ina Feenstra

Amy Fenlon

Gale Fiege

Gloria Jane Fish

Martha Fishel

Cheryl Fisher

Judy Fisher

Kelli Fitchlee

Joseph Fitzpatrick

Shelly Flaig

Candace Fleischer

Cheryl Fletcher

Becky & Kevin Fletcher-Tighe

William Flint

Donna Foley

Larry Forsythe

George & Ruth Ferguson

Foundation

Pamela Fowler

Howard Fox

Tami Francis

Rodolfo Franco

Joyce Frasier

Loyd and Joan Frazier

Bruce Freet

Susan Freeto

Stephanie Freier

Andrew Friedlander

Matthew Friedlander

June Fritz

Frieda Fuhrmann

Rosemarie Funderburg

David Gale

Judith L L Gamble

Jonathan Gamson

Brian Ganske

Judy Garrison

Robert Gates

Steve Gates

K Isserlis Gauthier

Nicole Geertsma

9


10

Nancy Gentry

Daniel R Gerhard

Molly Gerhard

Benjamin St Germain

Richard Gibbs

Ralph Gittins

Paula Glackin

Elaine Glasow

Bob and Elaine Glasow

Karen Glaze

Susan Glesne

Jeanne Glick

Jen Glyzinski

Wiliam Goe

Diane Goetz

Mary Jane Golden

Peter Goldfarb

Margarita Golub

Kelly Gomez

Viki Gonzales

Virginia A Good

Glenn Good

Jan Gordon

Joan Gordon

Roy Graebener

Debbie Grant

Duane Grant

Lori Graville

Sadie Green

Stephen Green

Bob Green

Mark Green

Joseph Greene

William Gregory

Beulah Grimberg

Thomas Grimmer

Mary Alice Grobins

Stephanie Gross

Claudette Gubrud

Lydia Guel

Karla Gulke

Gerri Gunn

John Gunn Jr.

Lynette Gunter

Barbara Bricka Gurney

Kay Haaland

Mike Hackendorf

Karen Hadman

Jenifer Haedt

Danny Hagen

Ruth Haines

Julia Hale

May Haley

Gregory Hall

Viktoriya Hall

Larry Hall

James Halpin

Eric Halvorson

Jay Ham

Anthony Hamilton

Gayle Hamlett

Jayne & Henry Hammingh

Patricia Hammond

William Handy

JoAnn Hanesworth

Marlene Hansen

Janet Hansom

Jana Hanson

Craig Hanson

Robert Hardin

Pat Hardy

Alan Hargus

MEANINGFUL CONTRIBUTIONS

Miranda Wilson – Programs Manager

Needs in the community have changed greatly

during the pandemic. One of the biggest changes

has been how we provide services. Pre-COVID we

would connect with participants when they visited

the Solution Center, for the food bank. Now we are

connecting with community members through

distribution, advertisements, community partnerships, homeless outreach,

website request forms, home visits and by phone. As the new Programs

Manager at Helping Hands Solution Center, I would like to give you a few

examples of some services and referrals I was able to provide recently

during this crisis.

Sunrise Services called in regards to our distribution for their client and after

asking more questions about the person, I identified there were a lot more

services they were qualified for. I was then contacted by their client, a 58

year old single female. She stated she was staying temporarily at a motel in

Mount Vernon. She had no transportation, no food, suffering from alcohol

withdrawal, had a medical condition which was causing her to have

seizures, in a domestic violence situation, disabled and suffering from

extreme depression. She felt she had no options as she had reached out to

other agencies who had no options for her. She felt totally alone and

helpless. I was able to get her signed up for free medical transportation to

get to her appointments, assisted making an appointment at Life

Connections for alcoholism, assisted with appointment and forms for Social

Security Disability, got her added to our mobile food delivery route, gave

resources for low income housing, supplied referral for DV services and

talked with her about resources to help with her depression. She started to

cry when she thanked me and I told her the true thanks goes to the

community because they care about her and make what we do possible.

A single mother with her son living at home was in need of wood. I was

contacted by the ladies friend who stated her friend had cancer, receiving

chemo and had no wood. Due to her cancer treatments she was feeling

extra cold. I contacted her and learned her only source of heat was her

wood-burning stove. I learned she was also in need of food but had no

transportation to our distribution site. Based on this information we were

able to provide her with wood donated to us by Mount Vernon Kiwanis. I

added her to our mobile food delivery route. She now is able to be warm

after her treatments and does not have to worry about getting food for her

and her son.


At one of our distributions I was able to connect with a husband and wife who

are currently homeless. They are living in their car and moving from campsite

to campsite as they can only stay at each site for four days. They moved to

Washington due to air quality and the husband's health. He was in need of

medical care and was unable to find a doctor in Washington. The husband

was receiving unemployment when they moved here, but has since lost his

benefits. His only work experience is in retail. Due to his health he feels

unsafe pursuing a job in this industry. Them having to move from campsite to

campsite has cost them extra money they don’t have. I was able to assist him

in finding a medical provider that accepts his insurance. I gave him

instructions on how to file for his unemployment based on his medical

condition. I referred him to DVR and WorkSource for assistance with training

and finding employment. I was able to provide them with a list of low income

apartments and assistance with their Housing Authority application. They

were in need of food beyond what they were able to receive at distribution

due to not having a way to cook. Due to being high risk they were in need of

supplies for sanitation. I was able to provide them with masks, disinfectant

and hand sanitizer. They had no money to buy personal hygiene items. I was

able to provide them with what they were in need of. I was able to give them

gift cards to help with purchasing gas and other supplies they needed. I will

be meeting with this couple twice a month to give them food and supplies to

assist them until their situation changes.

Marion Harmon

Mark Harp

Jennifer Harp

Donald Harper

Charles Harrah

Louise Harris

Carol Harrison

Richard Hart

Heidi Hartley

Laura Hartner

MaryAnn Hatfield

Melissa Haumerson

Tara Havard

Carol Havens

James Haworth

Jacob Hayes

Vicki Hayes

Kandy Hayes

Kelly Hayter

Beverly Haywood

Scott Hazelgrove

Robert Heckendorn

Ted Hegg

Donna Hegstad

Kristi Hein

Darrell Heisler

Elizabeth Heller

Laura Henderson

Janet Henderson

Shannon Henderson

Keith Hensley

Anthony Hernandez

Megan Hershaw

Lisa Hervieux

Denise Hewitt

Curtis Hezeau

Tiffany Hickman

James Hickman

Victoria Hildreth

Dawn Hill

Larry Hilliard

Julie Hinckle

Eric Hinton

Matthew Hitt

David Hodgson

Thomas Hohmann

Phillip Holder

Edith Holland

Jadyn Holmgren

Elizabeth Holtcamp

Angie Homola

James Horak

Patti Horn

Cynthia Hosick

Holly Hoskinson

Gaylen Houser

James Houston

Janet Houtsma

Randy Howard

Sharon Howe

Tim Howland

Helen Hubka

Robert Huet

Mary Huff

Robert Hughes

Travis Huisman

Gary Huisman

Sandra Hulst

Ronals Hunt

Stephanie Hunter

James & Barbara Hunziker

Jeremy Hurewitz

To learn more about programs available at Helping Hands, please visit helpinghandsfoodbank.org or call (360) 856-2211.

11


Jennifer Hutchison

Marie Ibsen

Yonkman Construction, Inc

Judy Ingrum

Laura Irons

Charlie Isaacson

Steven T. Iufer

John & Mary Jackson

Patricia Jacobsen

John Janicki

Mike and Lisa Janicki

Elizabeth Jann

Kari Jellison

Bette Jenkins

Christopher Jensen

Katherine Jensen

Linda Jensen

Phillip Jerman

Allen Jett

Greg John

James Johnson

Yvonne B. Johnson

Brooke Johnson

Karen Johnson

Carol Johnson

Kate Johnson

Dale Johnson

Ellen Johnson

Deanna Johnson

Anita Johnson

Kirstin Johnson

Jayme Johnson

Julia M Johnson

Jennifer Johnson

Maureen & Warren Johnson

Mary Johnson

Steven Johnson

Virginia Johnson

Vicki Johnson

James & Marilyn Johnson/Kenney

Jacquelin Jolly

Donald Jonasson

Thomas Jones

Tamara Joplin

Linden Jordan

Ross Joyce

Robert Joyner

Juanita Judd

Aaron Kaehr

Geri Kaigh

David Kawashima

Suzanne Kazanjian

Bruce Keenan

Melissa Keener

Conor Keeney

Debra Kelly

Rachelle Kelly

Kymberly Kelly

Arthur Kendall

Leslie Kendall

Leslie Kendig

Megan Kenoyer

Julie Kiefer

Steve Kiefer

Julie Kinder

Galen Kindred

Sandra Kindrick

Pam King

Eileen King

Astrid King

Steven King

Hallie Kintner

A community member contacted Helping Hands for assistance for her friend

who was in need of food for the holiday. Her friend is a single mother with no

resources. I was able to supply her with food for the holidays and beyond as

well as presents for her children. When the lady came to pick up the food and

gifts I found out her license was suspended due to being unable to pay her

fines and them going into collections. She is a single mother of 7 children and

had never had a license. Due to never having a driver's license the cost was

higher than if she had. I had met with someone who works for the courts and

she informed me about the relicensing clinic in Skagit County. Being part of

this program, they can pull her fines from collections and set up a payment

plan to allow the release of her license while she is making payments.

Although she is employed, she is still low income and can do part of her

payment in lieu of community service. Because of her situation she is able to

get a voucher from DSHS for DMV to help pay for her licensing fees. I was

able to connect her with these services and now she is able to drive legally to

meet the needs of her family and work.

The work we do would not be possible without the support of our community

and the partnerships we have developed with other agencies. To ask for help

is not easy. This is why we always treat people who come to us with dignity,

respect and kindness without judgment. Every person's situation is unique.

What services one person qualifies for, another may not. A lot of agencies

have very specific qualifications. Here at Helping Hands we provide services

to everyone who is in need. It is my job to listen, learn and connect them with

the programs they qualify for.

Helping Hands is currently searching for volunteer Navigators to assist in the

connection of individuals to appropriate programs. If you would like to become

a Navigator, please visit www.helpinghandsfoodbank.org/volunteer to fill out

the Navigator Volunteer Application. If you have any questions, give us a call

at (360) 856-2211 or email programs@helpinghandsfoodbank.org.

12


Leni C Kinzli

Randi Kivett

Marlene Klein

Shirley Knapp

Linda Knapp-Strobel

Sherry Kness

Kyle Knoble

Marjorie k Knott

Ingerlise Knudson

Kevin & Glenda Kok

David Koller

Mark Kolner

Matthew Kon

Julie Kongs

Germaine Kornegay

Bernita Korthuis

Cheryl Korthuis

Margaret Kotal

Susan Kovar

Lauren Kowalsky

Bobbi Krebs-Mcmullen

Susan Krienen

Gary Kruger

Cyndi Kuehny

Lawrence Kunzler

Eldon Kutscher

Joseph Kutz

Nels Lagerlund

Nate and Diya LaHue

Racquel LaMora

Rob and Christy Lancaster

Lettie Lance

Cindy Lane

Sandra Lane

Joan Lang

David Lang

Wendy LaRocque

Kathryn Larson

Dyane Larson

Beverly Lasswell

Phil Latendresse

Lisa Latham

Sandra Latham

Elizabeth Laue

Ruth Laughlin

Kathleen Lawson

Robert Leber

Leslie Lemley

Nicolette Levai

Howard Levine

Chloe Lew

Jennifer Lewis

Oliver Libby

Monica Liebert

Nancy Liggett

Ronald Lindsay

Sharon Link

Dan Lint

Janet Livingstone

Daniel Lofstrom

Michele Lomsdalen

Roberta Lomsdalen

Dennis London

Joy London

Nichole Long

Erin Long

Kathryn Longfellow

Ricky Loop

Richard Loop

Steven Lospalluto

Gary Lowe

Janet Lowry

13


LeAnn Lucas

Shane Lucey

Arlene Ludwig

Douglas C. Lundgren

Douglas Lundgren

Mary Lynn lyke

Michael Lykins

Carie Mackenzie

James Macy

Maria Magana

Janell Majewski

Heather Malcolm

Rose Mallon

Deborah Malone

Sylvia Mangold

Timothy Manns

John Manso

Katherine Marilley

Danl Markham

Anne H Martin

Shona Martin

Barbara Martin

Lori Martinelli

David Martinez

Joshua Martinez

Marijo Martini

Anthony Massarelli

Laura Mathews

Casey Matranga

Sylvia Matterand

Robert Matthews

Dorothy Matthies

Edward Matts

Tyler Maxwell

Gina Mayfield

Ruth Mazur

Robert Mazur

Francine McAdow

Sue McCallan

William McCann

Marlene McCauley

J.K. McConahey

Joanne McCormick

Gary & Sharon McDaniel

Gary McDaniel

Priscilla McElhose

Robert McGary

Mary McGoffin

Tara McGown

Richard McKenzie

Nancy Mckeown

Gloria McKim

Jessica Mckinlay

Susan McLoud

M.E. McMillian

Molly McNicholl

Jack McTaggart

Marg Meece

Sue Mehler

Leah Meissner

Garnet Mell

Thyrza Melsby

Cassandra Mendoza

Genie Metcalf

Jonathan Metz

Starla Meyers

Jack & Anne Middleton

Judith Middleton

Philip Mihelich

Linda Milbourn

Debbie Miles

Karen Miller

RISING TO THE CHALLENGE

Erik Larsen – Operations Manager

2020 started for us on a high note. In January we

started a second location in a local community that

had lost their food bank and, working with the

existing volunteers, were able to maintain help to

that community. After a full year in our new facility,

we had established procedures for operation in a

new environment that we needed but never had. We saw an increased

growth in our distribution outreach as word of our new model and hours

continued to spread to the people who needed us. But then COVID hit.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic we realized that while our

numbers would continue to grow, our existing model would not safely

support such a growth. Even with our current participant numbers we were

not able to maintain a safe environment for staff, volunteers, and

participants. Even our beloved volunteers were at risk, as over 80% of them

were very susceptible to this new virus.

So we came up with a new emergency food distribution model. In this

model we were able to safely continue our mission of serving our

community with dignity and respect, without worrying about putting our staff

and volunteers at risk.

Asking for additional help in the community, many new volunteers stepped

forward to assist us. Mostly younger, furloughed or laid off workers, flooded

us with help and we were grateful. As days went by, though, we realized we

needed even more assistance.

14


At this time, the Governor activated the National Guard and here was our

answer. Initially we requested 8 guardsmen to help as we thought at this time

that 8 people would be enough to tell our new volunteers to stay home and

take care of themselves and their families, but it was not. Requesting 12

more, that showed up the next week, allowed us to really help our

distributions and handle the increased amount of food we had to process and

pack in order to meet the need.

When word got out of the assistance we had received from the state with the

guardsmen, we were approached by 3 other food banks that were forced to

close their doors for the same reason we had to change. Their volunteers

were also at risk and they did not feel safe operating and putting them at risk.

They requested our help in reopening so they could serve their participants

with manpower and food and, of course, we said yes.

Starting in Alger, Concrete, and Hamilton we started assisting them with drive

through distributions and the response was very positive and immediate. The

Skagit County Department of Emergency Management and the immigrant

council reached out to us as well to assist with those who were unable to

make it to any distribution, to deliver food to nursing homes for the employees

that could not get out and get the food they needed themselves and assisting

in opening and providing food for a distribution at the Mount Vernon High

School, which we eventually took over when their funding ran out. Skagit

County Health Department requested our assistance in delivering food to

COVID positive families who were under quarantine, and many more.

Mark Miller

Constance Miller

Judith Miller

Grant & Michele Miller

Elizabeth Miller

Dean Millican

Joseph Millman

Joseph Mills

Yvonne Minerich

James Minton

Katharine Mintz

Sarah Mintz

Lisa Mirante

Donna M. Mixon

Janine Moden

Craig Mohler

Jane Molenkamp

Marla Molskness

Ross Moncrief

James A Montgomery

Sonja Moon

Lois Moore

Gunnar Moore

Frances B. Moore

John Morgan

James Morrell Jr.

Mike Morrey

Laura Morris

Brent Morrison

Colleen Morse

Frederick Morton

Michael Moser

Thomas Moser

Betty Moser

Russell Moser

Kristin & Steve Mowat

Linda Moyer

Patrick & Patrick Mulcahey

Joseph Mulcahy

James Murphy

Pamela Murphy

Kitti Musch

Susan Musselman

Charles Nafziger

Sue Nagel

Kevin Nagel

Arthur Nakis

Janet Navert

Nicole Navratil

Shelley & Andy Nelsen

Kathryn Nelson

Reggie Nelson

Barbara Nelson

Lorine Newcomer

Tam Nguyen

Sarah Nichols

Allen Nickerson

Zackry Nightingale

Mark Nilson

Jack Ann Noble

Lori Nordgulen

Shirley Nyland

Monica Ochs

Donald Odegard

Carrie Odlin

Terry Ogdon

Matthew O'Hagan

Rich Oickle

Gwendolyn O'Keefe

Barbara O'Keeffe

Jessica Oliver

Tashawna Olson

15


16

Gail Omdal

Linda Oppe

Kenneth Osborn

Catherine Ousselin

Vicky Overbay

Kelsey Overby

Jay Pace

Sandra Paciotti

Laura Paise

Lorna Haycox Parent

Ardis A Parker

Annette Parker

Scott Parrett

Elizabeth Paschke

Barbara Pattee

Thomas Patterson

Mary Patterson

Gerald Patterson

Marietta Paulus

Mary P Pavia

Kenneth I Payne

Troy Pazaski

Nathaniel Pearson

Daniel H Peck

Mark Peek

Erica Peel

Carol Pellet

Andy Penner

Joseph Pepia

Dorothy Perkins

Sandy Perkins

Barbara Perra

Robert Peter

TessaRose Petersen

Scott Petersen

Marjorie Petersen

Carol Peterson

Arlene Peterson

Duby Petit

Richard Petit

Cathy Pfahl

Kimberly Piazza

Gretchen Pickett

Beth Piotto

Logan Pirkl-Demarest

Sinead Plagge

Gailyn Ploeg

Aaron Pomerinke

Emily Porret

Raymond Powell

Greg Powell

Tom Powell

Paul Powell

Paul Power

Geraldine Power

Rebecca Pratt

Stacy Price

David Price

Nancy Price

Tammy Prouty

Dean L. Puckett

Gregory Pulley

Arthur Pullman

Charles Quigg

Lynn Rabenstein

Caroll Raczkowski

Chelsey Radonski

Roxana Rafatjah

Mary Ramborger

Martin Rand

Alyssa Randell

Joanne Rasmussen

Another food bank in Anacortes reached out to us as well. This one was in

dire need of help and wanted to join the Helping Hands family. We spent

months working with them and assisting with food until time came for them to

truly merge with us. Opening up a temporary drive though distribution in a

local church parking lot as their old facility was not optimal, allowed us to not

only feed their participants, but participants from Island County as well.

Our community is amazing. As the need kept rising and the asks kept coming

in, the donations exploded allowing us to truly help our whole county, who we

always considered our community. For every dollar spent on food or pound

handed out, the community gave back double. We are so blessed to be able

to say we truly are a middle-man for our community to help each other.

As 2020 comes to a close, we are looking forward to 2021. With transitioning

back to our facility with a drive through model and welcoming new and

existing volunteers, and eventually welcoming back our participants into the

building. We have some exciting new plans to introduce to the participants

and community.

Again, we feel so blessed to be part of this truly amazing and supportive

community and I personally want to thank each and every person who has

supported us in this very difficult time of need and am so proud of what we

were able to accomplish with your help. I myself look forward to continuing to

serve and nourish our community and build our organization to create a better

future for everyone.

If you are interested in future volunteer opportunities, please visit

www.helpinghandsfoodbank.org/volunteer to fill out the Volunteer Application.

If you have any questions, give us a call at (360) 856-2211 or email

volunteer@helpinghandsfoodbank.org.


Gary Rasmussen

George & Audrey Rasmussen

Karen Rawe

Kimberlei Rawson

Karla Reed

Andrea Rees

Martin Reese

Ann Reid

Daniel Reilly

Rachel Reim-Ledbetter

Marvin Remillard

William Requa

Scott Rhodes

Janet Rice

Karen Richman

Ruth Richmond

Amanda Richner

Mary Kay Richter

James Rider

Sharon Rigdon-Clark

Raymond Riggles

Kelly Rinehart

Gayle Rings

Mary Lou Ritter

Linda Robbins

Patricia Robinson

William Robinson

Cheryl Robison

Nancy Rodriguez

Andrea L Rogers

Dauna Rogers

Andy Rogers

Kristin Rogers

Pamela Rolfson

Kenneth Ronk

Jordan Roorda

Martha Rose

Robert Rose

Beth Rosenstiel

Mount Vernon Rotary

Charitable Foundation

Paul W Roveda

Brad Rowe

Daniel Royal

Sarah Ruether

Charles Ruhl

Lori Ruhl

R & K Ruschmann

Danielle Russell

Sarah Rutherford

Andrea Ryon

Loretta Saarinen

Teri Saben

Rober Saben

Sharon Sackett

David Sackman

Doreen Sadler

Kathryn Sager

Barbara Saleeby

Doug Salyer

Meli Sameh

Ben Sanders

Wendelin Lee Sanderson

Jill Santiago

Lisa Ann Sargent

Chirs Sargo

Barbara Schaeffer

Carolyn Schafer

Kate Schellie-Stram

Kitty Schiffer

Rebecca Schlaht

Ada Schmidt

17


Al Schmitz

Wayne Schneider

Sally A Schroeder

Edward Schrowang

Patricia Schuberg

Janet Schuirman

Rita Schulze

Michael Schweigert

Deborah A Scott

Susan Seefeldt

Daniel Segars

Betty Seguin

Richard Sentner

Kayren Shaffer

Paula B Shafransky

Jennifer Shainin

Ashley Sharp

Lea Shato

Richard Shaughnessy

Janice & Rich Shaughnessy

Gwen Shay

Henry Shea

Giles Shepherd

Steven Sherer

Bert Sheridan

Nora Shuler

Anne Sidbury

Mercy Sidbury

Kathleen Sieber

Beverly Siegrist

Renae Sigmen

Karen Silverio

Jeff Silzer

James Simonson

Lance Sims

Daniel Sims

Becky Sindora

Stan Singer

Catherine Sisk

Jonathan Sjogren

Darrell Skiles

Elisabeth Slabodnik

Brian Smead

Janet Smith

Glen Smith

Marcia Smith

Margi Smith

Phoebe Smith

Clete Smith

Anthony Smith

Benjamin Smith

Trevor Smith

Deborah Sodl

Mark Soine

Chris Soler

Harley & Susan Soltes

Jane C Soong

Brian Soots

Marcus Sorenson

Cynthia Sorestad

Tanya Sparks

Leslie Speedy

Anne Spink

Rebecca Spurling

Perry Squires

Linda Staab

Arlene Stadler

Mark Stadler

Milo Stafford

Robin Stambaugh

Dennis Stanchfield

Michelle Stanton

18

COVID and I suffered the worst at home alone. I needed food, then I realized

the food bank has a mobile food drop off program where they bring your box

of food to your porch no contact and leave it. Between that and close friends

cooking me meals and dropping them off I have fully recovered. The

compassion and willing to help those in need is why I volunteered and I miss

that feeling of gratitude. I cant wait to get back to donating some of my time to

help Helping Hands nourish and support our community with respect

kindness and food without any type of judgment. Nobody should go hungry.

Give Helping Hands a call at (360) 856-2211 if you have a food need.

Sometimes in our life we all need that helping hand.

A HELPING HAND

Keith Kirchgesler – Volunteer

Ahoy there! It's Keith Kirchgesler, also known as

Captain Seaglass. What a challenging year 2020

was! During that year I got a first look at some of

the amazing programs and things Helping Hands

has to offer. I went from being a dedicated

volunteer to a client. My whole household got

To learn more about programs available at Helping Hands, please visit

helpinghandsfoodbank.org or call (360) 856-2211.


GIVING BIRTH TO MORE HELPING HANDS

Kathy Young – Volunteer

Marblemount, WA is a little village nestled along the entrance to the North

Cascades Mountain Range. Around 200 people live here. Some were born in

the area and have chosen to stay. Others transplanted themselves here,

replacing chaotic urban living with the quiet, minimalistic life of forest dwellers.

Retired seniors, families with children and those with new dreams and

inspiration live in this scenic place. I like to say the Spirit of the trees reached

down inside me and grabbed ahold.

But because of where it is, Marblemount is colder and hotter and wetter and

drier. Before COVID-19, our food bank was held inside at the church. Usually

over 120 people came through every other Wednesday, walking around the

tables set up with donated and rescued canned goods, breads, dried foods,

veggies and meats, eggs, milk and juice. As a volunteer, I was blessed to get

to know some of my neighbors who visit our food bank.

Many come on bikes and scooters, carrying backpacks and pulling wagons. I

watched different individuals who visited for the first time, looking down at the

floor, unsure of what to do and say. Shy and timid, they let us respectfully

help them load up food items.

I listened to an elderly woman quietly tell me, "This food is such a blessing, it

really helps me get by between my Social Security checks."

And the young woman who told me she didn't have any way to heat up food.

So we helped find appropriate items for her.

Margaret Stapleton

Eric Stark

Leah Starr

Robyn Stein

Mia Steinberger

Linda Steiner

Heidi Stendal

Shannon Stephens

Sally Stern

William Stevens

Gregg Stiglic

Larry Stiles

Tessa Stiles

Keith Stobie

Eric Stollwerck

Corinne Story

Denise Stoupa

Patricia Stowe

Janice St. Peters

Cole Strassburg

Dave Streeter

Sven Stroosma

Thomas Strotkamp

Albert C Stubbs

Isobel Stuifbergen

Diane Sukovaty

Hannah Sullivan

Theresa Sundance

Betty Sundquist

Joni Sutten

Kathryn Sutton

David Svaren

Nancy Swalling

Rebekah Swanson

Angela Swatzina

Christine Sweeney

Jennifer Swenson

Stephanie Swenson

Chris Swenson

Richard Swetman

Cherrish Swiger

Daniel Symonds

Jennifer Tada

Becky Taft

Alice Takehara

Gary Talbert

James Tangaro

Ann Tanner

Tina Tate

James Tautfest

Bonnie Taylor

Megan Tewinkel

Marty Thawsh

Scott Thomas

Jean Thompson

Naoma Tiffany

Jon Kevin Tighe

Aaron Tinling

Marianne Tobiason

Donald K & Diane Torset

Deborah Torseth

Debbie Torseth

Nichole Townsend

Renate Trapkowski

Dave Trout

George Tsiatis

Jack W Turner

Kent Turner

Nancy Twine

Vicki Tyler

Susan Uker

Joy A Ulskey

19


20

Charlie Urbick

Janet Vaillancourt

Kimberly Valden

Pamela Valentine

Ruth Valleysegovia

Mary Vance

Rob Vander Stoep

Andrea VanPelt

Elizabeth Vansickle

R. E. Van Valkenburgh

Sara Van Zandt

Chris Varela

Joseph Vellegas

Carolyn Vellutini

John Vendeland

Mark Venn

Carolyn Vinyard

Mick Visten

Laury Volwiler

Sandra Von Trapp

Mark & Nancy Vorobik

Tom Wachs

Lauren Wachsman

Mark & Jody Wade/Byers

Michael Wagenbach

Paula Wagner

Keith Wagoner

Stanley Walker

Laurie Wallace

Shane and Kim Walley

Stanley Walsh

Katherine Walter

James Walters

Samantha Walters

Catherine Walton

Patrick Ward

Johnette Ward

Sarah Ward

Heather Warner

Eric Warner

Debra Warren

Louis H Watanabe

Marguerite Watkinson

Holli Watne

William Watterson

Diane Weaver

Catherine Weech

Cathy Weiss

Marc Weiss

Gail Welborn

Rebecca Welch

Sarah Welch

Steven Welcome

M. Cyrene Wells

Rocky Wens

Carmen Werder

Martin Werr

David Wesley

Heather Westendorf

Ruth Westerbeck

Jeffrey Weyand

Richard A Weyrich

F.C. White

Lori White

Sharon Whiting

Adriana Whitmer

Susan Whittle

Cynthia Wiese

Steven & Linda Wilhoit

Shirley Wilkinson

Debra Willer

Jeffrey Williams

And one hot summer a woman told me they didn't have a refrigerator. For

real. They dig a hole in some shady ground to place certain perishable items.

The one thing we all have in common is food. I have noticed that eventually,

those that come visit our food bank share a sense of family. They happily

stand around sipping hot soup checking up on each other's last two weeks.

With the gift of full bellies, the food bank hours became more like Happy

Hours, for both the clients and volunteers.

The assurance of regular food supplements can move hearts and minds. Now

with COVID-19, people have to follow a drive through food distribution. They

stop, stay in their car and have a volunteer place the boxes of food in their

trunk. But in our community many do not own a vehicle. So many people who

now stop at the drive through also pick up for their friends and neighbors who

are stuck at home.

Helping Hands Food Bank has given birth to more Helping Hands. In

addition to many making deliveries to their homebound friends, people are

eagerly sharing with others in need. In our community, I have witnessed

eager responses from people wanting to donate more food than was even

asked for, to some who had nothing to feed their families.

I have to wonder, does this now weekly food distribution of basic food staples

create a safer environment with less theft? Healthier bodies + dignity and

sharing = less crime. It would be an interesting study. One that I may

investigate myself, once COVID-19 has been exhausted.

Also, I would be remiss in not giving a huge THANK YOU to the assistance

we have received from the National Guard for almost a year now. Without

their helping hands, the boxes would not be getting prepared with donations

and would not be distributed. Many Thanks!

Helping Hands and the National Guard served close to 19,000

individuals in Marblemount in 2020. Thank you to Inspire Church,

donors and volunteers who made 2020 a plentiful year.

– Rebecca Larsen, Executive Director

For daily and weekly updates on our operations, please be sure you are

following us on Facebook @helpinghandsfoodbank


ANACORTES 100

Jim Kaufman – President of the Board,

Anacortes 100 Food Bank

On behalf of the Board of the Anacortes 100 Food

Bank, I would like to thank all of our original 100

donors and the Samish tribe for beginning the work

of serving our fellow Anacortes residents in need of

food support over more than three decades. We are

in debt to our beloved former manager Belinda Dye

and her family, including David Scott, her son-in-law, our last manager for their

dedication to all who relied upon our services. Lastly, we appreciate the

hundreds of individual donors, churches and local businesses whose

generosity meant the world to thousands of people in need here in Anacortes.

K.A. Williams

Katherine Williams

Brandon Williams

Martha Williamson

Stella Winberry

Anne Winkes

Rebecca Winters

Leanne Wiseman

Richard Wisniewski

Barbara Woiwood

Michael & Carla Wood

Flora Woodring

Susan Woods

Jane Worlund

Erika Wudtke

Kelli Wuerth

Randy Wurtele

Janet Wyman

Andrew Yamashita

Roland Yarcho

Mike Yeoman

Brian Young

Sandra Young

Frederick Young

Derrick Youngquist

Sandra Youngren

Michael Youngren

Erin Yousling

Alison Zak

Breanna Zamora

Heidi Zeretzke

Jane Zillig

Frances Zimmerly

Elaine Zonnefeld

Donald Zorn

Thank you to everyone

who showed their support

in 2020 through time,

energy, monetary or

physical donations,

sharing our mission with

friends, family or on social

media and more.

We appreciate your

dedication to nourishing

your Skagit Valley

neighbors.

360.856.2211

PO Box 632

Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284

To set up a recurring

donation, please visit

helpinghandsfoodbank.org/donate

21


STUFFING THE BUS

Nichole Long – Director of Development & Marketing

Helping Hands, like many organizations and businesses in our community,

found new and innovative ways to serve its community in 2020. With removed

restrictions to ensure all children in Skagit County would receive food through

its C.H.O.W. (Cutting Hunger On Weekend, Weekend Meal Bag) Program, it

needed to enlist additional help to deliver the thousands of bags each week to

children in the community.

Skagit Transit and Helping Hands soon found a partnership within each other that helped benefit both

organizations. Skagit Transit could continue to provide much needed hours to drivers on its team, and

Helping Hands could continue to accept and deliver food to the youth of Skagit County.

“In this moment of collective challenge, Skagit Transit is committed to remaining as flexible as we can in

support of our partners at the Helping Hands Food Bank and it’s mobile food programs,” Cheryl Willis,

Marketing and Public Affairs for Skagit Transit shares, “Skagit Transit is committed to being a link in the

critical lifeline of collecting and distributing food where it is needed in our local communities in partnership

with the Helping Hands Food Bank.”

Need for support for the C.H.O.W. program has grown due to children staying home for from school and due

to the impacts of the economy to on many families. Prior to COVID-19, C.H.O.W. served 1,100 children in

the Sedro-Woolley & Mount Vernon School Districts. With removed restrictions to ensure no child is left

behind, the program soared to over 2,250 students in a matter of months.

“Out of the overall percentage of growth of food distribution programs, C.H.O.W. has seen the biggest rise.

Many students are on this program for the first time ever, and we’re just so grateful in part to our donors and

partners like Skagit Transit who help us so we can continue to ensure children will have food.” Nichole Long,

Helping Hands Director of Development and Marketing, described.

22


The partnership between Skagit Transit and Helping Hands is more than just food delivery though. The

original coming together of the two groups began with a food drive idea: Stuff The Bus. What was supposed

to originally be the way to kick off the Skagit Fair in 2020, it was quickly adapted to ensure the safety of

volunteers and the community by hosting a drive-through donation drive for C.H.O.W. at Burlington’s

Cascade Mall. Through food and monetary donations the drive successfully fed over 8,500 students.

The food drive proved to be so successful that Skagit Transit, Helping Hands, and The Cascade Mall will be

hosting another one on Saturday, February 27th 2021 from 12 PM to 2 PM. This time all food items will be

accepted to support the many food distribution programs Helping Hands is serving throughout Skagit

County. To learn more about February’s Stuff The Bus Event, visit the Facebook event page at:

bit.ly/StufftheBusFoodDrive or email: development@helpinghandsfoodbank.org.

To learn more about how your organization, business or service group can become the next Community Champion

at our Stuff the Bus Food Drive, please call (360) 856-2211 or email development@helpinghandsfoodbank.org

23


BLACKBURNFOUNDATION.ORG

THANK YOU

FOR YOUR

SUPPORT!

Helping Hands would like to thank

The Blackburn Foundation for their

support in 2020!


NEW PARTNERSHIPS

Israel Lopez – Intern

In 2020, Helping Hands had the privilege to work closely with Skagit County to

provide services to your neighbors, friends, and community. During the

COVID-19 Pandemic we saw the need for safe and fair access to food

increase over 425%. Many new partnerships had been established during this

time, and one of the most notable is our partnerships with Skagit County

individuals and agencies. Skagit County Public Health reached out to us to

help provide food for those who received a COVID-19 positive diagnosis, or were quarantined. Just in the

last 3 months of the year we delivered to 200 families who struggled with food access due to their diagnosis.

Our team stepped up and served those directly affected by COVID-19 with kindness, respect, and without

judgment.

Skagit County Department of Emergency Management (Skagit County DEM) was the first to call at the

beginning of the pandemic. "What do you need" was the ask. When Helping Hands first introduced the drive

through model the DEM offered support with; Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), cardboard boxes and

hand sanitizer. Their support was vital to ensuring a safe, and efficient food distribution operation. They were

essential advocates for receiving and keeping the National Guard manpower. Also all three County

Commissioners wrote a letter to Governor Inslee to keep the National Guard here in Skagit County. With the

National Guard help, Helping Hands distributed over 7 million pounds of food in 2020.

Along with multiple agencies from Skagit County, the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) and the County

911 department held food drives for Helping Hands. They donated 100s of pounds of food. It is because of

selfless agencies like these ones, that helped us serve the 710,000 individuals of your community.

25



A PLACE OF LOVE

Vance Whippo – Chaplain, National Guard

Back in August 2020, as a National Guard Chaplain I was transferred to Task

Force Olympic North – Sedro-Woolley #20-027 at Helping Hands, with a bit of

trepidation. I arrived at the Solution Center with fast moving machines and

people going everywhere which seemed very chaotic to me.

My first month was one of gaining my balance and finding my place within this

machine, all parts working seamlessly in unison but doing different things. I felt like an outsider as many had

been here since April 2020 and built strong relationships. But I was welcomed from the beginning and made

to feel like part of the family.

Not only have I had the honor to work with this great team, I have counseled them in their relationships,

mental health issues and even officiated a wedding for one of them. Helping Hands provided for over

710,000 individuals this last year due to the help of the National Guard members on mission.

As a chaplain, I feel great pride in this accomplishment and am proud of each one of these service

members. I have had the opportunity to get to know the wonderful staff who has allowed these service

members to take over and run many of the day to day operations. A well-run operation is only capable due to

the leadership and this food bank is fortunate to have an incredible Director, that saw the need and asked for

the help so that no one would go without.

The first month of my stay changed to one of admiration as I learned how each of the multiple tasks of

providing food where executed. Each member of the staff and every service member assigned to Task Force

Olympic North – Sedro-Woolley #20-027, volunteered to be here and each one is proud of the work they do.

I know this feeling of pride in my work and those I work with.

27


Serving the citizens of Skagit County as it has struggled with many hardships such as homelessness,

hunger, COVID-19, and political discourse has added to the struggles and hours of long work required of all

the wonderful staff, volunteers, and soldiers.

I have now been here five months, only half as long as others, but have grown with and experienced the

aches and pains with those on this mission. As I sit here in the midst of the chaos with 10 new soldiers in

processing and as we say goodbye to some of our brothers and sisters off to other missions, it is both a

solemn moment and one of regeneration.

Every day has brought new challenges and new triumphs for both the food bank and the service members

present, but we have been able to meet each challenge due to the hard work of leadership and workers

alike. It is my hope that we can continue to provide this much needed help as long as needed.

What is our purpose if not to help another, or as Sophocles stated, “If we always helped one another, no one

would need luck.” The food bank is an institution that has been here during the worst times and must remain

here into the future. Though, changes are destined to happen, food, comfort and love are always needed,

which is what the Helping Hands Food Bank provides, some stability in times of uncertainty. As a chaplain I

truly believe that love is what will conquer all troubles in this life and Helping Hands Food Bank is a place of

love.

28

For daily and weekly updates on our operations, please be sure you are

following us on Facebook @helpinghandsfoodbank



More magazines by this user
Similar magazines