Giving Back in Pierce County
This year was about giving back as much as we could to our community. Our surrounding areas are blessed to have so many community members and organizations that make it a point to help others.
2020 WINDERMERE FOUNDATION RECIPIENTS
Our 2020 Foundation Funds recipients were: Next Chapter, Food Backpacks for Kids, The Emergency Food Network and The Tacoma Women of Color Collective.
Next Chapter provides services to pregnant women, single mothers and their children in experiencing homelessness Pierce County; giving them a safe and supportive place to live while addressing their barriers to housing. They provide education, opportunities, and tools for women in their program to find permanent housing and become self-sufficient.
The Tacoma Women of Color Collective cultivates space for professional Women of Color to nurture community, collaborate, and share professional, educational, and life resources. Founder Krista Pérez was looking for a space that not only embraced her own ambitions and career, but also wanted space to bring existence, opportunities and connections in Tacoma for other professional women of color too. TWCC facilitates professional and entrepreneurial based workshops as well as community events based on wellness/self care and network/community building. Additionally, they offer the opportunity to share and advertise your businesses and/or events! Their hope is to create a platform to build on while in the professional world.
Food Backpacks 4 Kids exists to meet the nutritional needs of hungry and food-insecure children and their families living on the Key Peninsula and in Gig Harbor. Children thrive when they have access to healthy food and our community volunteers work hard to collect and distribute food to any family in need with children in the home within the Peninsula School District. They offer three drive by locations and give out around 7,000 pounds of food each Saturday.
We know that this year has brought financial hardship on many, that often leads to food insecurity and that’s why we chose to make a donation to the Emergency Food Network. The Emergency Food Network has been committed to continue to provide as much food as possible out into our community during the Covid-19 crisis. Emergency Food Network provides 14 million pounds of healthy, nutritious food annually to 80+ food pantries, meal sites, and shelters for distribution to families and individuals in need. There are 1.3 million visits to food pantries and meal sites in Pierce County each year – and 54% of these visits are children and seniors! Emergency Food Network makes sure these hungry families and individuals receive the nutritious food they need to stay healthy.
STEP BY STEP
Kylee Hill and Shelley Heck have been collecting diapers, wipes, board books, and baby sleepers for Step by Step in Puyallup. By the car and literal van loads, Kylee and Shelley dropped off all your donations. They even received a few donations of car seats and strollers too.
Step By Step is located in Puyallup and founded by Krista Linden. In college, Krista knew that she wanted to dedicate her life to helping mothers and mothers to be. Step By Step believes that all babies should have a healthy start. They provide a multitude of programs and services Pierce, King, Kitsap and Snohomish County. One of the programs they provide for expecting mothers is pregnancy support through in-home visits, providing basic assistance, baby items, maternity support and infant case management.
The facility has grown and evolved over the years, allowing them to serve more mothers in our community. In May of 2019 when the Abodies visited for our Community Service Day, the Farm 12 Restaurant was in the process of being built. Not only is it finished, but it’s quite the popular place to dine, adapting to Covid restrictions to continue serving the community. This additional revenue stream has allowed them to continue to help thousands of women transform their lives and the lives of their families for the better.
FOOD BACKPACKS 4 KIDS
Holly Tacker and Erin Farquhar recently did a drive to collect all-purpose flour, baking soda and baking powder for Food Backpacks 4 Kids that services families in Gig Harbor. No collection job is too big or two small for these gals and they’re eager for whatever collection task Food Backpacks 4 Kids throws their way. The goal this time was to collect 200 of each item and they surpassed that goal. Holly and Erin hold collections for them every quarter so be on the lookout for the next collection announcement!
TACOMA ADVENTIST COMMUNITY SERVICES
Melo Hogan and her family are still supporting the Tacoma Adventist Community Services food bank every Monday and Thursday, on the Eastside of Tacoma. Food banks everywhere were hit really hard this year and have been struggling to feed those in need, but also serve those who receive groceries as food bank volunteers are mostly retired and in the vulnerable category. This particular food bank caters to those with dietary restrictions, so it’s vital that they have nutritious items donated to serve those people.
If you’re looking to get involved, they’re still in need of at least two drivers who would be available on Thursday’s and a once a month pick up for Trader Joe’s on the first Sunday of every month. Collections occur at Fred Meyer and Safeway every week and being able to life heavy items is a requirement. Learn more about the work that Melo has been doing from this podcast we recorded with Melo back in April.
NEW PEACE LITTLE FREE LIBRARY
If you’ve been out and about in a neighborhood, you may have spotted a Little Free Library during your outdoor adventure. How do those little libraries stay so full? Michael & Gretchen Duggan partnered up with Dr. Jamie Brooks from Brooks Dental Studio in the spring to help support these little literary delights stocked with reading material, which turns out became a community need when libraries had to close down due to Covid restrictions.
A partnership was born with the Tacoma Community House and The Rotary Literacy Committee to identify locations that needed greater access to books, thus the Duggan, Brooks & Books Project was born. Book drives were held to fill existing libraries in the Eastside and Lakewood and two new libraries were installed in the Hilltop neighborhood. Read more about the work being done and the history of Free Little Libraries on Duggan Homes website https://dugganhomes.com/tacoma-blog/2019/peace-little-free-library
Michael has also been doing some work through Gretchen’s church, Peace Lutheran in Tacoma. There is an Affordable Housing Ministry that secures affordable homes in the Hilltop neighborhood for families in need. Michael has been working with the church to help facilitate those homes by assisting with transferring the ownership of the home, working with the legal documents and consulting on the sale of the home. Through this program, affordable housing provides a direct method for stabilizing families in the Hilltop.