Letter: Connecting produce growers with those who need food


On behalf of the Good Cheer Food Bank and Thrift Stores, we’d like to welcome Brandi Blais to the South Whidbey Island community.

Brandi is stepping in as the second-year AmeriCorps VISTA member, serving as the Gleaning Program Coordinator here at Good Cheer Food Bank through Harvest Against Hunger and Rotary First Harvest.

After two decades as a QA/QC inspector — a career that took her from pulp mills around the U.S. to the oil fields of Prudhoe Bay, Northern Alberta’s tar sands and finally to the potash and uranium mines of Saskatchewan — Brandi decided to shake things up by packing everything she needed into a tiny RV dubbed the “Miss Adventure” and head back to school through ASU’s online program to complete a degree in Technical Communication, with a focus on grant writing while tooling around the PNW with her two dogs.

Serving as an Americorps VISTA was the logical next step to starting a second career.

Diving into the world of nonprofits and the fight against hunger, Brandi is excited about combining her skills and experience with her passion for community to build on the existing program and the work of the first year VISTA, Kelly Pinkley, to strengthen the gleaning program .

If you aren’t familiar with what a gleaning program does, it connects community members who have extra produce — like tree fruit or garden veggies —- with an organization like Good Cheer who can get the food to people in the community who need it.

The gleaning program at Good Cheer is a part of our efforts to reduce food waste and fight hunger on the island, and is almost entirely volunteer led and run.

Good Cheer’s commitment to getting fresh produce to those in our community experiencing food insecurity includes grocery rescue and farm partnerships along with the gleaning program. Through it all we’re supported by the Good Cheer Thrift stores, the tireless work of our staff and volunteers, and the generosity of our donors in the community.

We couldn’t do it without the support of everyone involved, and whatever form that support takes, it is deeply appreciated.

We’re always looking for volunteers to help with the gleaning program, as well as ways to strengthen and expand our community partnerships; you can connect with Brandi at Gleefulgleaners@goodcheer.org if you’d like to learn more about getting involved with Good Cheer, or if you’d like to find out more about how her adventure-filled life brought her to our island!

If you see Brandi and her two friendly cattle dogs in the community, feel free to introduce yourselves.

They’ll be taking in the sights around the island, exploring the beaches and trails and enjoying some of the community events that make the island such a great place to live.

Lissa Firor


More in Letters to the Editor

Letter: Thank you from the South Whidbey Hearts Hammers

Editor, South Whidbey Hearts & Hammers would like to extend its heartfelt… Continue reading

Letter: People should model good behavior for the children

Editor, In reading the article in the South Whidbey Record and also… Continue reading

Letter: Easter is a time for more than just bunnies, eggs

Editor, Each spring, at parks such as Dan Porter Park or on… Continue reading

Letter: Our Southern resident orcas are in peril

Editor, Living on Whidbey Island is magical, with sweeping views out onto… Continue reading

Letter: Opioid crisis restrictions don’t consider everyone

Editor, Regarding the April 6, 2019 South Whidbey Record article on the… Continue reading

Letter: Why is President Trump afraid to give tax returns?

Editor, So even though President Trump promised to release his tax returns… Continue reading

Letter: Island’s litter crews do a great job, keep us clean

Editor, I wanted to send a shout out to the litter crews… Continue reading

Letter: WhidbeyHealth CEO salary needs to match Whidbey

Editor, As the WhidbeyHealth commissioners consider whether to give the retiring CEO… Continue reading

Letter: WICA play is worth the watch, good for laughs

Editor, Go see the new play at WICA, “Next to Normal.” While… Continue reading

Letter: Please don’t be late with property taxes this year

Editor, Taxpayers of Island County, please take note. Property taxes are due… Continue reading

Letter: Is this the new normal for Whidbey Island residents?

Editor, Is the Navy planning on “taking” Whidbey Island from us? The… Continue reading

Letter: Girls Night Out Bunco a success again this year

Editor, Guild 21 of Providence General Children’s Association, PGCA, would like to… Continue reading