TULALIP — Need in the community during the holiday season and beyond was the topic of the Nov. 30 Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours, as representatives of the Marysville Community Food Bank, Goodwill and Salvation Army each cited the works they’ve done on behalf of the less fortunate, and asked the surrounding community for its support.
Marysville Community Food Bank Director Dell Deierling recalled that the Food Bank began as a temporary measure in 1974, before eventually receiving its 501(c)(3) status in 1987.
“Now we have a Board of Directors with a 10-year plan and a 5,300-square-foot facility,” Deierling said. “The problem has not gone away, but the good news is that we now have an infrastructure to address that need.”
Deierling estimated that 190 individuals invest 2,000 hours a month to keep the Food Bank running for the roughly 275 families in need who stop by three times a week to collect ingredients for their meals.
“That’s 6,100 individuals within the past year, or 10 percent of the population of Marysville,” Deierling said. “About 40 percent of them are children, and 10 percent are seniors. They come from all walks of life and they have tremendous stories. Many of them thought they were set for life, until series of events led them to the Food Bank.”
In the current economy, Deierling pointed to a number of grandparents who have found themselves providing shelter for their grandchildren, or even their adult children, and wondering how budgets that would have provided comfortably for their own expenses can now be stretched to feed an extended family.
In addition to its regular distribution times, the Food Bank also conducts home deliveries twice a month to those who are housebound, and just as the Food Bank provided Thanksgiving-themed meals, so too will its volunteers pack Christmas meal baskets later this month, in conjunction with their toy store on Dec. 19-20 at Dunn Lumber.
“The way the Food Bank works is, if people need help, they’ll get it, but once they reach the point where they can give help, many of them choose to do so,” said Deierling, who described area students as “our secret weapon” for donations, while also encouraging adults in local businesses and service clubs to continue to expand their contributions. “You can make the collection drives into a competition. Volunteering is a great way to get hands-on interaction with your community.”
Tania Siler, site manager for Seattle Goodwill Job Training and Education, reminded Business Before Hours attendees about the Marysville Goodwill’s registration period, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 10-13, for free job training classes.
“These classes are open to anyone seeking to overcome economic barriers,” Siler said. “The only requirement is that you’re either looking for work or building your skills to get a better job.”
According to Siler, the 10 Job Training and Education Centers under the purview of the Seattle Goodwill have enrolled 4,400 students, helped 700 get connected with new jobs and provided support services for 34,000 in the past year.
“All our proceeds go back into teaching and retail,” Siler said. “On Dec. 26, we’ll be offering 50 percent off on all color-tagged items.”
Lt. Col. Harold Brodin, Marysville/Tulalip program coordinator for the Salvation Army, characterized his group’s outreach to the needy as “a demonstration of the love of God,” devoid of any discrimination based on race, creed or circumstances.
“From the rocking horse to the rocking chair, we’re here to serve the whole person,” said Brodin, who listed Salvation Army programs for the less fortunate including adult rehabilitation centers, work therapy programs funded by thrift store sales at no cost to the clients, summer camps run on a scholarship basis and low-income senior housing supported by HUD, such as their sites in Seattle and Puyallup.
“As with Hurricane Sandy, we’re among the first to arrive at natural disasters, and we’re still there to provide canteens for the rescue workers,” Brodin said.
The Salvation Army’s other area services include free weekly meals for the needy, limited prescription assistance, donated clothing, bus tickets for specific necessary appointments and transitional housing.
“We want to help people solve their problems by giving them a hand up, not a hand-out,” said Brodin, who noted that volunteers are one of the Salvation Army’s most pressing needs during the holiday season, especially with the “Battle of the Bells” enlisting individuals and groups to ring the bell for the Salvation Army at various stores throughout Snohomish County.