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Where does all the food come from?

Good Cheer Food Bank & Thrift Stores

Sunday volunteers Our new truck

Food Bank & Thrift Stores Spring 2013 Vol. 10, No. 1

Fresh Food on the Table program enters second year

Growing a healthier community begins here Food has a way of linking us together, whether it’s connecting with a local farmer, or gathering around the table with friends and family. Fresh Food on the Table is a program which strengthens the local food system by bringing together community partners, local farmers, Food Bank clients, volunteers, and community members of all ages. Each contributes a unique piece-be it growing produce for the Food Bank, or playing a role in one of the program’s many levels of food-based education. This overall garden and food-based effort is entering its second year in supporting the Food Bank’s mission of “creating a hunger-free community” with fresh produce, and has

produced ripples of secondary connections for good in our community.

From Farm & Garden to Food Bank The central goal of the Fresh Food on the Table Food program is providing the Food Bank with a variety of locally grown produce throughout the year. Last year, over 5,000 pounds of produce was grown in the Good Cheer Garden for Food Bank clients. In addition, another 8,000 pounds of locally grown and gleaned produce was donated or purchased from our Fresh Food Gardens and other local farms, home gardens, and picked by the Gleeful Gleaners harvesting from local orchards or backyard fruit trees.

Banquet, Auction, and Square Dance April 28 in Thomas Berry Hall at the Whidbey Institute in Clinton. Appetizers at 5 p.m., Dinner at 6 p.m. Fun-filled auction with Jim Freeman. Square-dance to live music at 8 pm! Event is FREE, but please come prepared to donate in support of this program. Register online today at This year Greenbank Farm will donate two 100-foot rows of carrots and winter squash. Last year our purchased winter produce came from Deep Harvest Farm. Continued on page 2

Coming to a curb near you

Good Cheer’s neighborhood pickup service

▲ Good Cheer driver Steve Harkey picks up several bags of donated clothing.

Good Cheer’s door-hanger curbside collection program will begin this month. Drivers Kelly Schmidt and Steve Harvey will pick up donations from neighborhood homes and bring them back to Good Cheer to be sorted, priced and sent out to the thrift stores. A notice card will be hung on your doorknob letting you know that we will be back the following week to pick up donations right from your doorstep. You save the time of bringing it in to

Good Cheer and we make good use of time by picking up from a whole neighborhood. We especially appreciate men’s clothes, kitchenware, tools and electronics. Also furniture that is in marketable condition and appliances that still work. All of these items help us fund the Food Bank through Thrift Store Sales. Large furniture to donate? Call our distribution center at 360-221-6494 and we will make a special trip to pick it up for you.


Good Cheer Food Bank & Thrift Stores

A healthier community, continued Annie Jesperson and Nathaniel Talbot are in their third year of farming on the island. After completing Greenbank Farm’s Farmer Training Program in 2011, they are now beginning their second year of commercial production. The steady supply of carrots, kale, collards and beets kept the Food Bank stocked with local vegetables throughout the winter, while giving much needed rest to the Good Cheer Garden, its associated gardens, and all the volunteers who work so hard throughout the summer months!

Community Gardening Leadership Training The educational components of the project are under the direction of Cary Peterson, Good Cheer Garden Coordinator, and Karen Korbelik, Good Cheer Food Bank Manager. The four young adult apprentices come from across the US and Canada to participate in Fresh Food’s Community Gardening Leadership Training. As part of the Leadership Training, now in its third year, the apprentices develop skills in agriculture, community leadership, gardenbased education, and the Food Bank. Apprentice Alexa MacAulay will be taking a leadership role in the Westgarden at the Whidbey Institute, and Camille Green in the Good Cheer Garden. The Fresh Food Gardens where vegetables are grown for the Food Bank become outdoor classrooms for a diverse range of children and adults. The Langley Middle School garden and the South Whidbey Academy gardens (formerly Bayview School Garden) provide

“I have been partially unemployed and now I’m recovering from cancer surgery. I was advised to eat healthy and coming to the Food Bank has helped to make that possible.” - Food Bank Client


a hands-on environment where lessons are taught that support core curriculum educational requirements. Casey Jackson, the school garden apprentice, will develop lessons about science and sustainability. The Food Bank apprentice will be playing a leadership role primarily in the Good Cheer Food Bank and kitchen. This apprentice will learn about the Food Bank’s unique points system, zero waste practices, and sustainable gardening, This apprentice will also develop leadership skills in fresh food management, create fresh food cooking demonstrations, and lead volunteers in “putting up for the winter parties.”

“I’ve made fresh raw greens and fruit the larger part of my diet for the last few months, with great health results. I’ve lost 30 pounds... my chronic sinus congestion is gone... I can breathe much easier, and my arthritis pain is less.” - Food Bank Client

Community Education Peterson and the Garden apprentices host weekly volunteer work parties at The Good Cheer Garden and the Westgarden at the Whidbey Institute. Community groups and college students will participate in “service-learning”—learning how to grow food, build teamwork skills and experience the value of volunteerism. Other educational events take place at the participating farms and gardens throughout the year. Karen Korbelik and the Food Bank apprentice will oversee the processing of garden surplus—whether it is freezing kale or daily preparing the delicious soups served at the Food Bank. They will also share cooking tips with clients as they shop—Korbelik calls this “relational education.” Step-by-step cooking

demonstrations at the Food Bank, teaching clients how to cook nutritious meals as well as process and preserve garden surplus will also be a part of the program. This year’s program will additionally incorporate culinary job training for teens from the South Whidbey Commons. Farmers participating in the project share their expertise with the Community Gardening Leadership apprentices and Food Bank clients, and generously donate their surplus crops to the Food Bank. In addition, the Food Bank purchases produce from a local farm throughout the winter months. All this is made possible through the funds raised at the annual Fresh Food on the Table Banquet at the Whidbey Institute.

Reserve your place at the table online for free Don’t miss this amazing community fundraiser with delicious food, laughter, music, and dancing. See, www.GoodCheerGarden.wordpress. com and Good Cheer’s Facebook page for more details.

There are 100 inside seats (and more outside) for the April 28 Fresh Food on the Table banquet at the Whidbey Institute. Reserve your space today at the online link in green below.

Good Cheer Food Bank & Thrift Stores

Good Cheer’s new truck: a wish come true We get really excited at Good Cheer when a wish comes true. We have been wishing for a new truck for a very long time. While we were wishing, we were also working to find the funds to purchase a new truck with a lift gate that could handle the large pallet loads of food we pick up twice a week in Kent as well as at local grocers. Thanks to many donors and a large grant from Boeing Employees Community Fund, we finally bought our new truck. This new truck will allow us to pick up food and still be able to pick up furniture donations in a much more timely fashion. Last year alone, our truck picked up 292,709 pounds of donated food from local grocers, NW Harvest and Food Lifeline. Now we can pick up the food and maybe that many pounds of furniture from you. Your donations of furniture and other items are crucial to funding our Food

Bank. Remember that shopping at Good Cheer Thrift Stores feeds your neighbors.

Call 360-221-6494 to schedule a pickup of furniture.

10% TUESDAYS program helps build the local economy According to Dean Runyan Associates report on the impact of spending, every $68,860 spent locally supports one job. Imagine if each person on South Whidbey (approximately 15,500 people) spent $4.60 a month more on South Whidbey every month: 12 more jobs would be created by the end of one year. Good Cheer is committed to shopping locally whenever possible. Our mission to create a hunger-free community does not start with the Food Bank. It starts with helping to build up our local economy. We purchase as many supplies and services as possible on South Whidbey. With our Thrift Stores, we have the opportunity to help out our local economy by giving incentives to shop local. Every Tuesday, Good Cheer Thrift Stores give a 10% discount to any shopper who produces a receipt from a South Whidbey business. The receipt must not be older than 7 days and needs to be from any business in Clinton, Langley, Freeland or Greenbank. A customer brought in her receipt from her dentist visit to get her discount.

With every dollar spent in a local business, you help create new jobs or support employees who are already working here. When you shop at Good Cheer Thrift Shops, you help feed your neighbors who are in need of food. Every time you spend that $4.60 a month more on South Whidbey, you know you

Our mission to create a hungerfree community does not start with the Food Bank. It starts with helping to build up our local economy. have done your part to help grow our local economy.

144 boxes of cereal for less than 38 cents each South Whidbey’s Coupon Queen and Good Cheer volunteer, Ula Lewis, routinely dedicates over forty hours a week as a volunteer wielding her stash of coupon “cash” to find fabulous food deals for Good Cheer Food Bank. Her most recent result: 144 boxes of cereal, all purchased for 38 cents or less... plus 44 gallons of milk as a bonus. Ula put out a plea for coupon doublers on Drew’s List with great results. Thanks Drew, and thanks, Ula, for your vision and dedication, and to your crew of family and friends.

▲ Volunteer Scott Stark and Food Bank

Manager Karen Korbelik with some of the coupon purchases.


Good Cheer Food Bank & Thrift Stores

Where does the food come from? Churches 7,532 lbs.

3 wn 18,13 cally gro

Lo bs. 28 l 18,7 way Safe cer Gro . ose lbs Go 667 , 32

3% of the total Week in, week out, our clients depend upon pounds were the Food Bank to supplement their famlocally grown ily’s food needs. That requires a lot of food: produce 650,219 pounds to be exact. That’s the total number of pounds of food that Good Cheer distributed to local families last year. Every pound of food that is donated, purPa chased or grown on premises for the Food yl 4 Bank is weighed and logged before it is 3, ess 53 put on the shelf. 5 Foo ds lb Purchased Food About 40% of the food is purchased s. by the Food Bank with money from Made Possible community donations, leaving 60% Busi By Your Monetary n the result of in-kind donations. Scho esses, C Donations l ols, Some businesses give both food Indiv ubs, 4 i d and monetary donations. Payless 3,96 uals 269,152 lbs. 5 lbs Foods in Freeland, for example, . (40% of total) donated 43,535 pounds of produce last year as well as gave $14,629 rbor Oak Ha as a result of their ‘bring your own ’s n so Albert grocery bag’ in-store program. lbs. Other organizations, such as local 53,084 churches, donate money ($13,419 total last year) and hold seasonal or monthly food drives, or even collect Food Northwest food each week. Lifeline Many of our financial supporters are Harvest also double supporters, donating their 71,883 lbs. 91,540 lbs. time working in Good Cheer’s gardens or bringing in extra produce from their home gardens. The percentage of locally grown produce is 3% of the Food Bank’s total food pounds, with plans to steadily increase the volume year by year. This is significant when realizing that a pound of kale is much larger in volume and more nuperhaps not the best way to make compariIn the past 10 years, in-kind food tritionally dense than a pound of rice. sons as to food value, it does provide a useful donations have grown from 60,000 Though measuring food in pounds is and measurable metric. In-Kind Food Donations



Northwest Harvest



Food Lifeline



Albertsons - Oak Harbor



Businesses, Clubs, Schools & Individual Donations



Payless Foods - Freeland



Goose Community Grocer - Bayview



Safeway - Oak Harbor



Locally Grown (gardens, gleaning, market donations)





South Whidbey Churches


pounds to 381,067 pounds in order to meet increased community needs. These in-kind food donations provide the variety that makes Good Cheer Food Bank so appreciated by local families in need. Your donations of gluten-free foods, low-sodium and low-glycemic foods help people who are on special restricted diets. With summer approaching, we are especially grateful for vegetable and fruit donations from home gardens.

Good Cheer Food Bank & Thrift Stores

Sunday Oak Harbor pick-up team brings back boxes of produce

▲ Sunday volunteers Rick Bell, Robin Bell

(staffer), Josh McElhenny, Robert McElhenny, Susan Posch and Darrell Posch

Last year Good Cheer began to make Sunday pick-up runs from Albertson’s and Safeway grocery stores in Oak Harbor for boxes of still-usable produce that was due to be rotated out of the presentation cases. Boxes of produce such as lettuce, broccoli, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, apples, mushrooms, and bananas are brought back, weighed, culled through, and then packaged for our produce bins and Food Bank refrigerator. When the doors of the Food Bank open on Monday, these ‘just-in-time’ produce items are already available to clients. We are very grateful to our donors up north who provide these items that would otherwise go unused. And we are thankful to our Good Cheer team of Sunday volunteers who make this possible.

Volunteer finds Good Cheer a great place to connect with community When Pete Little and his wife, Mokihane, relocated from Hawaii to Bayview three years ago, they moved just up the road from the Food Bank. “I would pass it on my walks,” he said, “but I had no idea what it was all about.” That is, until he learned that Good Cheer was looking

for volunteers to help with the garden, and specifically, to install a donated greenhouse. With his construction background, he volunteered to help with the project, then began to volunteer in the garden, which he loves. From there, he

began volunteering in the Food Bank, putting produce out from the Sunday Oak Harbor pick-up runs and also the Monday Northwest Harvest pick-up run. “I was looking for a way to get involved with my new community, and Good Cheer has been a great place to get connected,” he said. He also made a connection on behalf of the Food Bank when he learned that Bayview Hall was seeking to install an electrical stove and wanted to move on their propane stove which was in great condition. Voila! A connection was made and Good Cheer has a much-needed almost new stove. “I like volunteering at Good Cheer, getting to know other volunteers and staff, and greeting the clients. Karen (the Food Bank manager) even cooks us breakfast!,” he said.

◄ Pete Little stocks the produce bins at the Food Bank Monday mornings and checks what Food Bank Manager Karen Korbelik is cooking on the new stove (above).


Good Cheer Food Bank & Thrift Stores

What fresh garden produce means to Food Bank clients Food Bank clients were recently asked to fill out a questionaire about the fresh produce component of the Food Bank. One question was whether they had noticed health benefits as a result of eating fresh, locally grown vegetables. Responses included: • After chemo/radiation I needed them more than ever • Eyes are better and no colds for over a year • Stronger and more resistant to colds • Less arthritis • Yes - losing weight • I eat more of it and it fills me more. • More energy • Yes, feel better, lost weight!

• No colds all year • I am very pleased that this Food Bank can provide such quality local food which I eat as much as possible. On the question of how the fresh, locally grown produce has made a difference in their life, here are a few of the many responses: • My child thinks this is the best kale on Whidbey Island. “The Garden “ROCKS!” • Gone down 150 lbs. in weight, healed of lots of ailments. • The fresh food is not only more nutritious, it is also a learning experience. I’ve learned how to cook and eat fresh veggies in many new ways. LOVE IT! • Easier to control my blood sugar

• Better food, better attitude, better health. • I have never had kale before. Now I eat it with every meal. • I never liked fresh, leafy greens until I began eating really fresh greens from the garden. I’ve even made my own lettuce garden so I can always have fresh baby greens for my salad. • During this bad time it feels good to know you have our backs. Thank You 100% • My breakfast habit is a stir fry of onion, kale, rice and egg. I’m fueled for the day! I am not tempted by worthless caloric breakfasts… Dine like a king at breakfast, a prince at noon and a pauper at dinner! Good Cheer fuels me!

Gleeful Gleaners look for volunteers and tools for season The Gleeful Gleaners of Good Cheer harvested over 6500 pounds of fresh fruit in 2012, our third season. That’s over three tons of tree fruit that would otherwise have gone to waste, including tons of apples, piles of pears, plenty of plums, and a bounty of Asian pears. We even picked some kiwis and grapes! Generous tree owners in the community shared their extra fruit, and big-hearted volunteers scouted the trees, organized picking teams, harvested, delivered the goods and made sure that fresh food got to people who could use it, through the food bank and other organizations. We encourage people who can harvest their own fruit to donate their extra to Good Cheer; we gleefully help people who can’t pick their own good quality tree fruit who have extra to share.

Do you have any extra picking equipment? We could use pole pickers, picking bags, and an orchard ladder (or three). If you happen to have any equipment to donate, we’ll put it to good use!


Now we’re planning for 2013’s harvest and rounding up some equipment to help us bring in even more fresh food for our community. Do you have any extra picking equipment? We could use pole pickers, picking bags, and an orchard ladder (or three). If you happen to have any equip-

ment to donate, we’ll put it to good use! Generous tree owners provide the resource, and volunteers make it happen. One special group of volunteers had lots of fun bringing in a fresh harvest, according to their troop leader. (See comment below.)

Picking apples with the Gleeful Gleaners was a very positive community service experience for our 3rd grade Brownie Troop. The girls worked as a team to pick the apples, then sort them by quality into boxes. They picked over 75 pounds of “perfect” apples in under an hour that they got to hand deliver to the Good Cheer food bank. It was very meaningful because they were able to see their efforts weigh in and know they were helping to provide healthy food to clients of the food bank, fresh food that might otherwise drop on the ground and be wasted. They look forward to having fun gleaning next year! Jenny Staats, Leader, Brownie Troop 43514

Good Cheer Food Bank & Thrift Stores

Clyde Theatre’s ‘Magic Change Jar’ just keeps on giving Every March and April the Clyde Theatre places a ‘Magic Change Jar’ at the concession stand. What makes it a “magic” change jar? The donations are multiplied through matches (up to $250 each) from The Clyde, Island Athletic Club, and Lindsay Communications, plus an anonymous donor. It means every $1 put in that jar (up to the $250 match maximum) turns into $5. If patrons put in $250+, the des-

◄ Lynn Willeford holding the Magic Change Jar.

ignated charity now gets $1,250+. In 2012 the MCJ passed on a total of $6,792 to six local charities ($985 to Good Cheer). In 2011 the MCJ passed on a total of $6,652 ($1,380 to Good Cheer). This year, in addition to spare change, The Clyde held a March soup drive for Good Cheer and donated more than 150 cans of soup to the Food Bank. Good Cheer will continue to receive monetary donations via the MJC through April.

Volunteer Forum: celebrating success, brainstorming improvements Good Cheer holds a quarterly meeting for our volunteers not only to show how much we appreciate their service, but that we also highly value their feedback and suggestions for ways to improve our services. In December, it was a lovely dinner put on by the South Whidbey Assembly of God Church. In March, it was a simple meal accompanied by a forum to get some feedback from our volunteers. Volunteer Coordinator Duane Gimbel led us through a facilitated meeting start-

ing with what there was to celebrate, followed by volunteer ideas on what can be improved. Volunteers shared how great it felt about being a part of such a caring community and how they were proud to help Food Bank clients maintain their dignity during challenging times. Volunteers from the Thrift Stores, Good Cheer Garden, and the Gleeful Gleaners expressed that they were happy to be welcoming agents of the spirit of Good Cheer. There was a lively discussion about improving certain details of our operations,

and committees were formed, with many volunteers and staff stepped up to work on the various ideas. This will continue the tradition of utilizing all of our resources to continually improve our systems. Our next quarterly meeting will be in the summer with a barbecue at the Good Cheer Garden. Past, present and future volunteers are welcome. For more information on volunteer opportunities at Good Cheer, please contact Duane at or just stop by any Good Cheer location.


Good Cheer Food Bank & Thrift Stores Good Cheer Board of D irectors Ann Gallagher, President Marilee Seligson, Vice President Robin Hertlein, Treasurer Pam Bickel, Secretary

Good Cheer Food Bank & Thrift Stores PO Box 144 Langley, WA 98260


Jim Hartley Maury Hood Tom Nack Bob Olson Janet Ploof Louise Prewitt Jay Ryan Kay Stanley Bill Watts Gene White John Worthington Executive Director Kathleen McLaughlin McCabe

March Madness Team Scores for Good Cheer

Congratulations to Good Cheer’s own ‘March Madness’ team who placed third in this year’s charity basketball game held March 24 at South Whidbey High School. From left, Don Zontine, Steve Harkey, Nick French, Nate Hanson, Jordan Parrick, Madi Boyd, Leo Black, Shawn Nowlin. Picture front and center: Lucy Nowlin and RJ Barker. Thank you to all who showed up to cheer on our team!


Congratulations to Good Cheer Thrift Shopper Linda Haas (above) who was a runner-up in the Seattle Times Thrift Shop Contest. Linda has thrift shopped for 45 years. She buys things in any size and alters them to fit. This outfit cost $36, including her boots. More than 400 people entered the contest, including many Good Cheer patrons. And speaking of ‘thrift-shopping’... ‘Thrift Shop’ is a currently popular Macklemore and Ryan Lewis song. Watch a Whidbey Young Life parody of the song shot in our Clinton Thrift Store on our new online blog “The Daily Munch.” Visit

Spring 2013 Good Cheer Newsletter  

Good Cheer Food Bank's Spring 2013 newsletter

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