Whidbey Island Nourishes receives generous operating grant to feed kids

Volunteer Conrad VonDoran prepares to distribute lunches for the Whidbey Island Nourishes’ backpack program. - Photo courtesy of Mary Fisher
Volunteer Conrad VonDoran prepares to distribute lunches for the Whidbey Island Nourishes’ backpack program.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Mary Fisher

Whidbey Island Nourishes received a $10,000 grant from Food Lifeline/Morgan Stanley for its Backpack Child Feeding Program.

Thanks to Good Cheer’s director Kathy McLaughlin, the organization became aware of the opportunity, and Miriam Coates and Margaret Andersen put the proposal together that paid off handsomely.

The grant is earmarked specifically for the backpack program, which has expanded this year to serve 100 children in the community.

WIN also serves other youths in the community through various lunch pick-up locations. Currently, volunteers make more than 1,200 lunches per month to feed children in need. The grant will help to continue operations and meet the growing needs of the program.

According to Food Lifeline, a Seattle organization that distributes food to food banks, one in five children in Washington lives in a family that struggles to put food on the table on a regular basis. And more than one-third of Food Lifeline’s food bank recipients — more than 250,000 — are children.

The numbers are similar for South Whidbey.

Mary Fisher, director of WIN, said that in the South End community,

32 percent of the people served by the Good Cheer Food Bank are infants and children.

Fisher said that without the support of all the volunteers and team leaders who prepare and deliver food, the nonprofit would not have been able to demonstrate its organizational competence to qualify for the grant money.

“Bravo to all of you who make this happen,” Fisher said. “Our children are blessed to live in such a caring community and we all benefit in this relationship, as well.”

“WIN volunteers often say they feel enriched by their involvement with the program — it feeds all of us on different levels — and when kids grow up, they may reflect upon the nourishment they received and be more likely to give back in return,” she said.

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