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: Cast vote for Janet St. Clair for Island County commissioner

Editor, This fall’s election is offering us an experienced, committed, engaging, people-oriented… Continue reading

Letter:Shout out to local restaurants for being very child-friendly

Editor, I wanted to take a moment to thank all the restaurants… Continue reading

Letter:A story of ‘adventure’ with WhidbeyHeath referral

Editor, This may amuse other Whidbey residents who’ve dealt with WhidbeyHealth. A… Continue reading

Letter: Drunk driving laws in state need to be reviewed, improved

Editor, I don’t write letters normally, and here I am with the… Continue reading

Letter: Contrast between Trump, Obama could not be any greater

Editor, During the first weekend of September we witnessed a memorial service… Continue reading

Letter: Reasons to elect Janet St. Clair as commissioner

Editor, I’m voting for Janet St. Clair for Island County commissioner 3.… Continue reading

Letter: Buyers beware of the listed property descriptions online

Editor, Talk about ‘caveat emptor.’ I recently submitted a complaint to the… Continue reading

Letter: Ultimate Frisbee a safer sport than football — switch it out

Editor, I read with pleasure the article last week about local Whidbey… Continue reading

Letter: The loud ‘sound of freedom’ drowns out everything else

Editor, It’s 6 p.m. A gorgeous, warm, late summer evening. But we… Continue reading

Letter: Striving to provide the best in recreation programs, parks

Editor, We write this letter to thank the South Whidbey community for… Continue reading

Letter: Restoration project needs experts who’ve walked beach

Editor, Small fish were jumping by the dozens in the Hidden Beach… Continue reading

Letter: Administration spouts lies, nonsense; vote in November

Editor, “Truth isn’t truth.” Come on, Giuliani, what kind of baloney is… Continue reading