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Need rising for Good Cheer

Jesse Kinskie unloads turkeys at the Good Cheer Food Bank. Kinskie and another volunteer, Scott Stark, unloaded 500 turkeys the morning of Nov. 16 in preparation for Thanksgiving Day.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Jesse Kinskie unloads turkeys at the Good Cheer Food Bank. Kinskie and another volunteer, Scott Stark, unloaded 500 turkeys the morning of Nov. 16 in preparation for Thanksgiving Day.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

BAYVIEW — The Good Cheer Food Bank walk-in refrigerator was filled with 1,000 turkeys.

And it may not be enough.

“Hunger has a face and has a story,” said Karen Korbelik, the food bank manager.

Good Cheer projects it will help about 1,000 families in November. As of Nov. 16, 709 families had received food from the nonprofit, and Korbelik believed the number would grow.

Some 35 new families have visited the food bank for help this year. A comparison of October 2011 and 2012 shows an increase in aide, from 859 families to 924. One of those families that received help stuck with Korbelik, who has been the food bank manager just over a year.

A father and son visited Good Cheer the week of Thanksgiving last year. She was exhausted from long nights working and was ready to leave ahead of the snowstorm that covered Whidbey. Korbelik learned the father and son were living in the woods on Whidbey Island, and their reality put hers in perspective.

“It was one of those moments that brought me out of my own craziness here at Good Cheer and brought it home,” she said.

“It emboldened my mission.”

That feeling of helping others — helping neighbors — led a couple of volunteers to spend a recent morning stocking 500 turkeys. Jesse Kinskie and Scott Stark unloaded the gobblers into the food bank’s walk-in refrigerator Nov. 16, and it only took them a few hours.

“I started doing it just to have something to do,” Kinskie said of volunteering.

At Good Cheer, 30 percent of its volunteer staff are also food bank clients. The week prior to Thanksgiving Day, 37 volunteers helped.

Yet work remains. More turkeys are needed for the holiday season, and Good Cheer is getting some help. The Goose will donate a turkey to Good Cheer for $15. Donations can also be made directly to the food bank.

“It’s amazing to see the community, the clients and the feedback,” Korbelik said. “The class system is not as important as the sense of community.”

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