Island Angels swoop in to help Whidbey families

Good deeds aren’t too hard to come by these days, as demonstrated by a Clinton resident who has been organizing the purchase and delivery of groceries to families all across Whidbey.

Over the past eight weeks, Cindy Buchanan has helped 74 families, including individuals, obtain food with the help of her donors, who she calls her Island Angels.

Buchanan began reaching out to people in need who are affected by COVID-19 over the Facebook page, “Whidbey Island Community.”

What started as her offering to buy groceries for one family has evolved into a collaborative effort to feed multiple families with multiple contributions every week.

“After the first time, people knew people and they messaged me, saying, ‘I know a family who needs some help,’” Buchanan said.

“It’s just amazing how many people jumped on board to help,” she added.

Buchanan estimates over a hundred people have pitched in over the past two months, whether that has been with groceries or with a monetary donation.

The majority of people have reached out over Facebook, where the most information is posted, but everyone from grocery store cashiers to Boy Scouts growing gardens have helped support Buchanan’s service.

Small businesses have started to help out, too. Robbie’s Mini Donuts in Freeland pledged to pick up the bill for some of the past week’s expenses, purchasing and delivering the groceries the same day they saw Buchanan’s post.

“We felt the need to donate was very important because we are a small community and we wanted to help anyway we can,” owner Robbie Longdon said.

Buchanan said she focuses on the people who may have a hard time asking for help or visiting their local food banks.

Buchanan said she routinely checks in with the families, usually delivering about two week’s worth of foodstuffs and catering to their tastes.

Buchanan recalled one older woman she helped, who had been making her and her dog cookies for the past week because she only had flour, sugar, baking soda and eggs.

Buchanan has also been delivering pet food from Critters & Co. in Clinton in conjunction with the human food. Donations to the pet store have helped keep the pet food accessible for the creatures needing it.

From the Clinton ferry dock to the Deception Pass bridge, Buchanan has driven and delivered the food just about every day while juggling her own job.

Buchanan said she visits the grocery store at least four times each week.

“I am always at the grocery store,” she said with a laugh. “I try to stay on the island because I’m trying to support the island.”

Facebook is the best way to contact Buchanan, but for those without a social media account, they can email her at

Although the future of the pandemic is still unknown, Buchanan said she would like to continue providing food for families and individuals in need.

“A lot of people have said if it’s working, why stop it?” she said.

“There’s always people who are going to need help.”