People Helping People

GoodRoots Northwest / November 5, 2021

Children and the Market!

On a rainy Friday night in December of 2019 I worked my first shift as a volunteer at the Bonney Lake Food Bank. If you would have told me then, that everything was about to come to a screeching halt and that I would become the CEO of this organization in the midst of a pandemic..there's not a chance I'd believe you. I don't remember much of that first shift, but I do remember the children that came that night. I remember feeling the kind of sadness that makes you a little ill.  I was sad that this dingy and neglected place was where they came to get food. I was sad as I watched them push rickety metal carts around with banana boxes on top, a makeshift grocery cart of sorts. I was sad that their parents didn't have another choice and knew it.  I was sad that this experience might leave an imprint on their pure souls. I remember thinking that I couldn't unknow these things and that I had to keep coming back even if it made me feel this sad.  During my shift the following Friday I found out that they needed a director.  A month later I found myself in an interview talking about a re-imagined space that looked like a market. A place that would eliminate shame and be joyful for children. I felt a little foolish saying some of these things...they seemed far fetched at best.  As it turns out, the board of directors had similar views...and well, you know the rest of the story from there. 

In the video we had made to announce our move to the farm and launch the new vision of our organization our board president, Jenson Isham, said the following statement that I still can't hear without feeling shook "Our ultimate goal is that when a child walks into the Bonney Lake Food Bank, they have no idea they are in a food bank." Six months later, we accomplished that goal. Today and everyday, The Market is filled with children. They are greeted at the front door and get to pick out a prize from a basket.  They sit in real grocery carts and giggle. They eat snacks while their parents shop and I find little trails of raisins at the end of the day that make me smile. They don't know they're at a food bank. No child in our area will ever need to know they visited a food bank. 

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