It’s a known fact: you can’t change the past. You can examine and worry about the ‘what-ifs,’ but in the end, the past is just that – the past. Sometimes a fresh start is the simple, and sometimes challenging, solution.
That fresh start is what appears to motivate former Mt. Si Food Bank Director and current Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank Director, Heidi Dukich, and her team of volunteers.
No matter what led Dukich and the Mt Si Food Bank Board of Directors to quit last November, they see the responsibility of feeding hundreds of community members in need as what is most important.
So this month, Dukich and her team returned to their familiar spot at the North Bend Community Church after the Mt. Si Food Bank moved out. They had lots of work to do, as the space had been cleared of everything that made it a food bank, including tables, chairs, refrigerators, large freezers, computers and most importantly, the food.
But they didn’t miss a step, opening February 5th. As the month rolled on so did critical donations, including two industrial-sized walk-in freezers and an oversized floral refrigerator. The food levels are getting there, but are nowhere near what they were before Dukich and the board stepped down in last fall.
‘Old-New’ Rotary Donation Boosts Food Levels
Those food levels got a big boost on Friday, February 21, 2014, when the Snoqualmie Valley Rotary stepped in to help fill the food bank’s shelves with a large donation.
Rotarian Brad Toft explained that the Rotary has a long history of supporting the community food bank. So when the Mt. Si Food Bank vacated the North Bend space in January, without a new spot secured to seamlessly continue providing food, the rotary requested their $5,000 donation from last summer’s President’s Cup Golf Tournament be returned. The Snoqualmie Valley Ministerial Association, which controls the Mt. Si Food Bank’s cash reserve fund, obliged.
The Rotary then headed to Costco in a donated rental truck and purchased 2,000 pounds of canned food for the new Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank. Multiple pallets of tuna, chili and soup, were off-loaded by rotarians and volunteers last Friday afternoon, and almost like magic, a sparse food storage shed was replenished in about 30 minutes.
2,000 pounds of canned food may seem like a lot, but the reality is, at its peak, the food bank was donating about 18,000 pounds of food each week to residents in need. To keep that large volume of donations coming in and going out every Wednesday, the busy food bank utilizes lots of planning, lots of volunteers, strong dedication and important connections with local businesses.
New Food Bank Adds Needed Office Space
The new Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank is now utilizing important office space inside the North Bend Community Church, something the old food bank didn’t have. The new office allows for the private registration of food bank users and offers the ability to work with families in a more professional, one-on-one setting.
Heidi said one of best advantages of the private office is workers and volunteers can really hear the personal stories of food bank patrons and discuss other available public services that can assist patrons as they get back on their feet.
One thing is certain, Dukich and the board of directors couldn’t be happier as they return to serving the community. When asked how she felt about the Mt. Si Food Bank possibly reopening, potentially causing donation competition, Dukich said if it does reopen, she hopes its administration does something different from the Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank, so the two organizations can complement each other to best serve the community.
As for the fresh start, Dukich summed it up as the Rotary prepared to unload their large food donation, saying, “We are a community and it’s our job to take care of each other.”
For more information on the Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank, including donating or volunteering, visit www.snoqualmievalleyfoodbank.org.