The twenty or so bags of food donations collected in front of the Edmonds QFC by Ethan, Brett, and Jordan on December 9th and 11th were temporarily stored in the lobby of the Louis Braille School. The pile grew in size after the boys were taken back to the supermarket to spend the $125 of donated cash on more food.
All three students were excited on the morning of Monday, December 15th, the day we had arranged to drive them to the Edmonds United Methodist Church on 828 Caspers Street, so they could deliver the donations to the food bank in person. There were three vehicles in our caravan. Jordan’s mother, Michelle, and his two sisters, Kiley and Gracie, joined us.
We arrived after lunch and were met by Peggy Kennedy, Director of the Food Bank, and Mark Harrison, a photographer for the Seattle Times newspaper. Everyone pitched in to help load the donated food into shopping carts provided by the food bank (see photo, above). A different photograph of the boys, showing them pushing carts into the food bank’s main room, appeared in the Seattle Times the following day of Tuesday, December 16th, on page B-2.
When Peggy was informed over the phone that our students would be making a delivery on Monday, she immediately offered to give them a tour once they had finished dropping off the donated food. We all enthusiastically accepted her invitation.
Peggy walked us through sorting and storage rooms. The kids entered coolers and freezers. All the while she spoke about the work of the food bank, and that was quite a day’s lesson for the students (and the rest of us).
We learned the food bank had been serving 225 to 250 families per week before Thanksgiving. For Thanksgiving week they served 399 families. “The miracle is, we did not run out of anything,” Peggy said. “For Christmas,” she added, “we’ll give a two-week supply [of food] to more than 300 families.”
Peggy told the boys, “You can be very proud of yourselves because you’ve helped feed a lot of hungry people.”
Everyone listened with interest as she went on to say there are 110 volunteers working for the food bank. Some of them sort or pack food, others make numerous trips each month to collect food donations from supermarkets.
“We work and have a lot of fun,” Peggy said. “Some of us have been here for 20 years. We’re like an extended family.” She got a big laugh as she added, “You don’t have to be crazy to work here. We’ll train you.”
Later, when we returned to the Louis Braille School, the students and teachers emphatically agreed that the food drive and tour were worthwhile.
“I liked pushing the carts!” Brett boomed.
“I’m glad that we donated food to the food bank. It was a great experience,” a happy Jordan said.
“Thank you [for helping us help the food bank]” Ethan told the teachers and staff.
Teacher Beckie was proud of her students. “It was a good experience for the children to learn why people go to the food bank,” she said. “It’s awesome to know these boys helped so many people and families.”
Jennifer said, “I couldn’t believe the number of people the food bank helps, the size of some families receiving the help [Peggy Kennedy mentioned one family with 15 children], and how organized the workers are. I’m glad the boys got to hear about the people they’ve helped. They were excited all the way from collecting to delivering the food.”
Teacher Dianne approved of the boys’ follow-through. “I think it’s wonderful the children could see the culmination of what they started,” she said.
A few days after the tour, I called Peggy Kennedy and she had some additional words of praise. “The children have so much to deal with in their lives and it doesn’t seem to be slowing them down at all,” she said. “I thought they were fabulous. It was just amazing to me. I was amazed at how well they interacted with everyone. They went out and did a fantastic job. They’re all little charmers.”
People wishing to volunteer at the Food Bank are asked to come in on a Monday morning. Various tasks must be done. The staff will help you find one you like.
Donations of food may be left inside two large doors on the west side of the church between 9 am and 8 pm. Cash donations can be given to the staff in the upstairs office.
The runs the food bank at 828 Caspers Street in Edmonds. The phone numbers for more information are: 425-778-5833 (Food Bank) 425-778-2119 (Church Office).