A Little Atlas, A Big HeartOur Families

A Little Atlas, A Big Heart

A Little Atlas, A Big Heart

A Little Atlas, A Big Heart

On a grey Saturday morning in Stanwood, a Food Bank volunteer ran into Atlas Lecoq and his mom outside the Food Bank building. Mom asked if they could borrow one of the blue carts to move donated food from their car to the Food Bank. There was a lot of donated food. The volunteer inquired where the food had come from and the mom told this wonderful story of Atlas having a birthday party and asking his friends who were coming to the celebration to bring some food items for the Food Bank. Well!  Atlas raised 70 pounds of food and the picture shows a proud Atlas and the food he collected. What a wonderful young man and a big thank you to Atlas, Mom and friends!

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The Jones FamilyOur Families

The Jones Family

The Jones Family

The Jones Family

The Jones Family came in to the Food Bank to pick up their Summer Meals for Kids packs for their two teens and preteen. The mother expressed her thanks for the packs this summer and wanted to know if we would continue during the school year. She said that having the extra food for her growing boys makes the difference between getting enough to eat and choosing how to spend their limited income. The single serving meals allow the boys to fix their own food and mix and match to their preferences. Favorite items: beef jerky, beef stew, beef ravioli and the potato that can be microwaved and then adding the chili to the top. Least favorite item: shelf stable milk since they get real milk from the Food Bank during regular food service.  They really appreciate the opportunity to participate in this program and are so grateful to have it in their lives.

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The Foster FamilyOur Families

The Foster Family

The Foster Family

The Foster Family

The Foster Family, a grandma, a mom and a daughter living in a trailer on the back of a property in Stanwood after a house fire left them homeless. Their only source of heat and light was stolen (generator and propane tank).  The Foster Family was exhausted and concerned for their futures but also hopeful yet. They were discouraged and needed some warm running water so they could all shower. They were cooking over an open fire and melted their pots and pans.  They were thankful and embarrassed that they needed to use the services of the Food Bank & Thrift Store as well as get referrals to other agencies for help.

Being able to eat a hot meal via the Heater3 Meals Grant brought smiles to their faces. They came back to get some more and were so excited about the quality of the food, how hot it really was, and how filling the meals were. They discovered that the heater unit in the meals works as a great foot warmer in the bottom of their sleeping bags too. We were able to give them two cast iron pans from the Thrift Store so they could cook over the open flame.  We had a $20 Haggen Gift Card that they used to purchase a new empty propane tank canister. The resource center also helped them with the fuel. We were the bright spot in their situation, for which we were honored to assist and provide the needed help.

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The Customer DifferenceOur Families

The Customer Difference

The Customer Difference

The Customer Difference

Lisa is one of our regular customers, she recently shared with us why she loves coming into our Thrift Store. First and foremost, she loves that by purchasing items here she is actually donating to the Food Bank. However, it’s the volunteers and staff that have her coming back. She told me that not only do we keep the store ever changing, making it extremely enjoyable to go on her treasure hunts, but that we are also very informative. She has learned more about Stanwood and Camano Island from us than anywhere else! She only moved here about 6 months ago and our Thrift Store has become her happy place. She gets to engage in many conversations with customers as well as staff and is always treated with respect and a sense of nurturing. She also conveyed that we have great sales and bargains that simply beat out the other surrounding thrift stores.

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A Community Like No OtherOur Families

Sometimes All We Need is Hope

A Community Like No Other

Sometimes All We Need is Hope

On November day of this past year we had a family of four arrive at our Food Bank. A mother, a father and two teenage girls ages 13 & 15. They were homeless. As if that struggle wasn’t difficult enough, someone had stolen every last belonging they owned. The mother was so embarrassed that she couldn’t even tell our volunteer at client check of what her family might need from next door. That didn’t deter our seasoned volunteer, she told her to ask for Wendy or Caryl when she felt comfortable going over to the Thrift Store and we would help her from there.

The family didn’t come into the Thrift Store until almost closing. The mom was so anxious at first, so we just started going through the racks. Will your daughter like this? Will that fit? Within a couple of minutes, she relaxed and became comfortable.  We were able to outfit everyone with warm clothes. They will be going over to the Coat Drive for their kids. We made sure they had plenty of blankets, pillows and suitcases on wheels to store everything they needed within. This is why we love our job at The Stanwood Camano Food Bank. By the time the family left, we could see the hope in their eyes and smiles on their faces.

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A Community Like No OtherOur Families

A Community Like No Other…

A Community Like No Other

A Community Like No Other…

Jasmine, a recent food bank client, recently stopped in so excited she could barely contain it. She had just been hired for a full-time position. Jasmine came to us on December 1st. She and her family had escaped a dangerous situation. They had left everything they owned, as well as their jobs behind. In just 3 short months, her husband found a full-time job, and now Jasmine is employed too! She said that the food bank was her saving grace. She only came in for food 3 times in those 3 months. The Thrift Store filled a voucher on her first visit for clothes, furniture, and housewares. We filled only one more voucher for interview clothes. Jasmine was so grateful for everything we did to help her family. She didn’t know there were organizations & communities like ours that would empower a person instead of tearing them down.

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The Magic of ChristmasOur Families

The Magic of Christmas

The Magic of Christmas

The Magic of Christmas

The day after Christmas we had a grandma come into the Thrift Store. Her 2 year old granddaughter had not had a Christmas. We went into high gear! We were able to find some toddler clothes that were brand new, we found a few toys, a hat, and coat. To say the least, grandma was thrilled. We encouraged her to come to the Food Bank on Wednesday the 27th of December to get food. We also let her know we were going to contact Mardi, who of course is all about making sure she gets some great presents for that little one. No child should ever lose the magic of Christmas, especially at such a young age.

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Every Step of the WayOur Families

Every Step of the Way

Every Step of the Way

Every Step of the Way

We had a family of four that came in this past November. They were homeless and sleeping in a tent. We made sure they had warm blankets, and layers of clothes to keep warm. This past week the mom came by the Food Bank. They now had a place to live, her husband had found a job, and we did a second voucher. Now that they have a home they didn’t have anything to put in their home. We made sure they had all the housewares necessary for a functional kitchen and cooking environment. She was so grateful that she gave our staff member a huge hug with tears in her eyes.

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A Community of SupportOur Families

A Community of Support

A Community of Support

A Community of Support

Jane was found by customers and volunteers sleeping on a couch in the Thrift Store right after the store opened at 10AM. People were concerned, and we were asked to assist. After carefully waking Jane (she was disoriented and afraid), she and our staff member chatted about her choice of sleeping spots. Here’s her story… She just needed a place to rest/sleep for a while. Every time she tried to sleep outside, she was awakened and threatened with police action. She said that she was so tired and hadn’t slept in days because she was so scared.  We took her over to the Food Bank and created a nest for her upstairs so she could get some much needed sleep. The Food Bank was very busy with volunteer activity and everyone knew that she was there sleeping. Thrift Store volunteers were celebrating a birthday and shared homemade soup, pasta and bread with Jane. She inhaled the food then promptly fell asleep.

After 5 hours, Jane woke up and we had the opportunity to get “the rest of her story”. She was living on the streets in Seattle but became frightened of the many homeless and violent men she encountered. She made her way up to Stanwood, where she was raised. She was hoping to connect with some family or friends in the area. She hadn’t been successful reaching anyone yet. She was very polite, coherent and engaging this entire time. Several volunteers appeared around 4PM and everyone got involved in the “Jane Project”.  Pat R, Gaylen and Mary jumped into action. Pat found a backpack as well as duffle bag for a sleeping bag, mat and food items that we assembled for Jane. Mary and Gaylen helped shop along with Caryl from the Thrift Store (Jane wasn’t wearing any socks and her feet were cold). She shook the hand of each person who was helping her and thanked them.

End of the Story:  Why did Jane choose the Thrift Store for safety and warmth?  Jane’s great great auntie was Jeanie Ovenell. She knew that people would help her, and she’d be safe if she could just get to the Thrift Store.  After her rest, Gaylen drove her to the Resource Center for assistance. We hope that Jane is doing better and is off the streets.

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