Opinion

NONPROFIT NEWS | Good Cheer welcomes new staff

By KATHY MCCABE

Good Cheer Food Bank & Thrift Stores

Last week representatives of Good Cheer attended the Northwest Harvest annual conference. Part of the conference included a tour of the Maple Valley Food Bank. That food bank has always been one of our favorites. They have now converted to the choice/point model; though different than ours, they did use our model to help design their program.

One of the differences is they purchase their produce through “Charlie’s Produce.” It demonstrated how two like organizations, both doing good work, take different approaches to address issues.  I personally want to publicly thank the Good Cheer Board of Director’s for making the financial decision to allocate funds to contract with Cary Peterson to create a program that would allow us to put fresh food on the table of families who shop at the food bank.

It was Cary’s leadership and community support that allowed us to grow produce or buy produce through local farmers versus purchasing produce through a wholesaler. Through the path that the Good Cheer Board of Directors chose, it allowed many opportunities for the larger community to play an important part in creating a hunger-free community. Our produce came from the Good Cheer Garden, Langley Middle School Garden, South Whidbey Elementary School Garden, South Whidbey Academy Garden, miscellaneous farm and home garden donations, Gleeful Gleaners, Greenbank Garden, Bayview Farmers Market, Bayview Garden at WICEC, Whidbey Institute Westgarden, Deep Harvest Farm, and Ebb Tide Farm.

Through the Good Cheer model, we are putting MORE fresh produce on the table versus what we would have been able to do through direct purchases. The model used allowed us to leverage community donations of produce that we would not otherwise have been able to afford. The Good Cheer model involved partners, community volunteers, community donors, and an apprentice program that equates to many hands, versus that of writing a check to a wholesale company where personal relationships were never made.

I feel honored to work for a board of directors who made a decision that made such an impact in our community. I’m deeply grateful for Cary’s vision, leadership and dedication. Last, but certainly not least, I’m so thankful for all of the community support that “Fresh Food on the Table” has received. I want to take this opportunity to also publicly thank Cary. She no longer will be contracting directly with Good Cheer, as Cary was ready to go out and start other great community programs. Good Cheer’s “Fresh Food on the Table” program has evolved and two of our last year’s apprentices, Camille Green and Lissa Firor, have been hired by Good Cheer to move our fresh produce program to the next level.

Camille and Lissa are dynamic new additions to the Good Cheer staff. Camille, like Cary, is hosting Wednesday garden work parties, and Lissa can always use your help getting produce onto our food bank shelves. If you like to garden you will LOVE working and learning with women whose hearts are as big as their smiles. Interested in volunteering call 360-221-4868, or email volunteer@goodcheer.org or stop by our Good Cheer Bayview site.

 

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