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M’ville Food Bank opens new facility

Betty Lou Close, who’s happy to show off the contents of the Food Bank’s produce stands, has been working at the Marysville Community Food Bank for the past two years, but she’s been volunteering with various community service organizations all her life. -
Betty Lou Close, who’s happy to show off the contents of the Food Bank’s produce stands, has been working at the Marysville Community Food Bank for the past two years, but she’s been volunteering with various community service organizations all her life.
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MARYSVILLE — The Marysville Community Food Bank officially inaugurated its new address, at 4150 88th St. NE, during a Jan. 5 ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house.

“It’s been a long and tedious process,” Food Bank President Mike Mulligan said, just before Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendall took hold of the oversized scissors. “We’re proud of this building and we have it because of the help we’ve received from many, many members of the community.”

The 5,600-square-foot facility sits just behind St. Mary’s Catholic Church and represents a significant upgrade from the Food Bank’s former 3,400-square-foot building next to the Marysville YMCA.

As she has at several previous events, Food Bank Director Joyce Ziegen enthusiastically explained how the Food Bank will operate at its new location.

“Our clients check in and have a yellow, red, blue or green sticker,” Ziegen said. “Those stickers indicate how many cans of each food stuff they can get.”

Canned goods are divided up into fruits, vegetables, beans, soups and tuna. Packets of pasta, ramen, spaghetti mix, rice, oatmeal, powdered milk and condiments are also available to Food Bank clients in the same numbers, according to their stickers, but clients can choose which items they take.

Georgia Spiger is a six-year client of the Food Bank who began shopping there on behalf of her tenants, as their landlady. She recalled that the Food Bank used to present its goods to clients in presorted bags.

“Not all of my tenants would want all of the items,” Spiger said. “This way, none of the items get wasted.”

Although it was a day before the Food Bank’s first official day of business in its new building, Spiger browsed through the shopping line with Jerry Nysether, a Food Bank volunteer since 2001.

“I retired and was looking for something to do,” Nysether said. “I work here a couple of days a week. You get to meet nice people and do community service.”

In the new Food Bank facility, volunteers like Nysether and Betty Lou Close will be responsible for steering clients’ shopping carts and keeping the line moving. Close, who was happy to show off the contents of the Food Bank’s produce stands, has been working at the Marysville Community Food Bank for the past two years, but she’s been volunteering with various community service organizations all her life.

“It’s good therapy and it gives me a chance to meet people,” Close said.

Fellow Food Bank volunteers Joyce Lybyer and Jim Johnson echoed Nysether and Close’s

sentiments, praising the “fellowship” of the volunteers, as well as the emotions they experience when interacting with clients.

“There are these special moments,” said Johnson, a 10-year volunteer at the Food Bank, as he stood by its dairy section. “I remember giving one girl, she was probably seven, a birthday cake from our bakery and she said, ‘This is the first birthday cake I’ve ever had!’ I almost lost it. Every week, something special like that happens.”

“Some of our clients show up late, after we’ve closed but when we’re still here,” said Lybyer, a three-year Food Bank volunteer. “They’re in such dire need that tears run down their cheeks and they’re so thankful when we can still help them. It’s very touching.”

Walt Eckman has been a client of the Marysville Community Food Bank for the past year and a half, and he only wishes he could do more for the Food Bank, after all it’s done for him.

“I’m on Social Security disability,” Eckman said. “I used to get $14 a month in food stamps from DSHS, but they took that away this year.”

The Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club, of which Eckman is a member, collected holiday donations for the Food Bank, but Eckman still regrets not being able to help the Food Bank with its move, due to his dislocated shoulder.

“Don’t be bashful,” Eckman said. “If you need assistance, come on down. They’re nice people who are always there to help.”

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