FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Vera, Helga & Margaret
By the time you read this, National Volunteer Week and Month will have come and gone, but they were very top of mind when I sat down to write this note.

Volunteers are the heart of our food bank. We are immeasurably better because of our volunteers. That's a simple way to put it, but I cannot begin to describe all the ways they collectively improve our food bank. Their whole is certainly greater than the sum of their parts.

I've been lucky enough to work at our food bank for almost 15 years. In that time, I bet I have met more than 6,000 volunteers. However, four volunteers will always hold a special place in my memory: Margaret, Vera, Helga, and Tutu. They have all passed away, but are forever a part of me. Margaret, Vera, and Helga were at the food bank every day we were open. Each had a different background and personality. They were not always easy for me to work with, but they were remarkably dedicated to our work and I learned tons from them.
Tutu
Tutu was her own piece of work. She ripped around town in her bio-diesel Volkswagen, helping dozens of people and organizations on her own schedule and by her own rules. She even convinced me to give her a set of keys to our food bank so she could volunteer during our off hours...

As we have gotten larger and my job has changed, I interact far less than I used to with our current cohort of volunteers. I miss the conversations, stories, inspiration, and stories of why each decided to donate their time and energy to our mission. However, I still get to see their passion and commitment to our mission each day. I witness how much they care about each other and the people who come to the food bank each day for food. We do a lot to try to say thank you, but our volunteers want to be of service more than they want any pats on their backs.

If you know anyone who volunteers for any group, tell them thanks. If you volunteer, I hope you feel appreciated wherever you donate your time. We are a better community because of our volunteers.

-Mike Cohen,
Executive Director
UPCOMING EVENT

Food For Thought: Hunger Interventions for Students
Thursday, May 23 | 5:00-6:30 @ Bellingham Food Bank

Be our guest to learn more about how food banks and schools support their hungry students and families, during the school year as well as during school breaks.
Speakers from:
* Bellingham School District
* Foothills Food Bank
* WWU and WCC Food Pantries

Catering by Haggen Market Street Catering

RSVP:
info@bellinghamfoodbank.org
360.676.0392

ADVOCACY TEAM

Did you know? 11% of Washington state is food insecure, including 280,000 children. We at BFB believe hunger is unacceptable, and are always seeking ways to amplify that message. You can join us in our fight against hunger by joining the BFB Advocacy Team.

With a constant bombardment of news, finding how to take action can feel overwhelming. We are aiming to keep you engaged when we identify actionable hunger-related issues. This may look like links to articles to read to become more informed, petitions to sign to show support of new legislation, or invitations to events that bring people together to work toward community improvements. Every opportunity will be optional, but the more who participate, the better represented Whatcom County will be in state and federal hunger issues.

To join the Advocacy Team list, simply sign up at
https://www.bellinghamfoodbank.org/getting-you-involved/spread-the-word/ and you'll receive email calls-to-action, helpful links and more hunger-related news.

Thanks for taking action!
STAMP OUT HUNGER

On Saturday, May 11 simply fill the bag in your mailbox (or any bag) with nonperishable food and it will be delivered to us through volunteers with the United States Postal Service. 

Some nonperishable items we love to receive are:

* Canned Tuna and other Canned Meats 
* Breakfast Cereal
* Peanut Butter and other Nut Butters 
* Canned Hearty Soups and Stews

You can also leave a monetary donation envelope so we can purchase fresh food.

THANK YOU!
STAFF CORNER

August
We love adding food bank babies to the family!

August David Lucas Danner was born to Operations Manager Melanie on January 10 weighing 8 lbs 10 oz. Fun fact: he is named after his grandad, great grandad, great uncle, and also two different great, great, great, great grandfathers!

Welcome August!
VICTORY GARDENS

Does your vegetable garden explode with bounty in the summer time? ...And do you love to help your hungry neighbors? If so, you can become a Victory Gardener for BFB! We rely on the generosity of home gardeners from late Spring to early Fall for about 50,000 pounds of produce annually. The families who come to the food bank excitedly anticipate these homegrown goodies and show their appreciation with their smiles.

Here are some FAQs about our Victory Garden program:

What kind of produce do you like to receive?

We love all produce, especially if it's something that you enjoy growing and eating yourself.

Where do I go to donate?

We have a receiving door behind our building that is accessible via a drive-through alley. It is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. We appreciate receiving donations in the morning so that we can sort them when our volunteers are working.

How should I package my donation?

We love to receive items in a sturdy container or bag, preferably already washed or rinsed of any soil. We take all volumes of donation from one head of lettuce to a trunk load of squash! While blemishes are okay, we are not able to distribute any produce with fissures, punctures, mold or bugs, and we cannot accept windfall fruit. Really delicate items like raspberries are prone to damage in handling, so we love getting that type of item in a clean recycled clamshell container.

I have more than 100 pounds to donate. Can you come to my property to harvest my donation?

Consider calling our Small Potatoes Gleaning Project for help one week in advance of when your crop will be ready. That project's coordinator can be reached at (360) 303-0912 or glean@bellinghamfoodbank.org.

Happy growing!
Like us on Facebook