South Whidbey Good Cheer Food Bank and Thrift Stores addresses hunger and need in our community through numerous channels. Our food bank serves an average of 800 families a month; our food bank gardens and donors provide fresh, local food to food bank clients; and our two thrift stores sell locally donated, high-quality, and still-usable house and kitchen wares, clothing, shoes, electronics, books, crafts, and furniture at a fraction of retail price. What is more, all three components of our organization serve as a space for community members—young and old—to not only participate in community building through volunteering, but also to relate to one another; learn from each other; and cultivate a greater sense of belonging.
Aside from addressing the physical aspects of hunger and need, Good Cheer offers a social context in which people understand that being in community means asking for and giving help, which, in turn, sustains community growth and development. Our Fresh Food on the Table Program, which encompasses Good Cheer Food Bank’s multi-pronged efforts, increases local produce in the community, and diverts food from the waste-stream by processing and preserving blemished and/or excess produce.
In 2015, Good Cheer Food Bank:
- served 5,437 people, included 1,526 children, 821 seniors, and 640 homeless people.
- served 894 families per month, on average.
- gave away 55,000 pounds of food per month, on average.
In 2015, through Fresh Food on the Table, the Food Bank:
- gave away nearly 24,000 pounds of fresh, local produce from the Good Cheer gardens, and local farmers and home gardeners, over the year.
- grew over 9,000 pounds between the Good Cheer Garden and Bayview Garden.
- processed and distributed more than 1,830 pounds of food that would have otherwise gone to waste.
- began to develop a 1-acre joint food bank and school district farm to grow vegetables and fruits for the food bank and school cafeterias, later named The Big ACRE.