On South Whidbey, Good Cheer is lucky to have ongoing partnerships with many other need-based non-profits, community organizations, and businesses unified in feeding the hungry on South Whidbey. Sharing resources with multiple community organizations creates a network of service for vulnerable populations, relieving pressure from any single organization and helping to sustain and better provide for the broader community as a whole.
Good Cheer’s Fresh Food on the Table Program has benefited from partnerships with local farms and home growers donating excess fruit and vegetables during the growing season, with the bulk of donations coming in the months of August and September.
In 2015, Good Cheer Food Bank recorded 485 separate donations from individual home growers, as well as 50 donations from 15 different local farm partners: AnamDail Farm, Bur Oak Acres, Deep Harvest Farm, Ebb Tide Produce, Foxtail Farm, Mutiny Bay Blues, Pam’s Place, Plum Hill LLC, Porter Farm, Quail’s Run, Skyroot Farm, Tom’s Market Garden, Whidbey Green Goods, and Willowwood Farm. Produce from the Whidbey Institute Westgarden and SWSD Farm and Gardens is also donated to the Food Bank to supplement Fresh Food on the Table.
Aside from in-kind donations, gleaning efforts made by a number of organizations help to increase the amount of local fresh food available to food bank clients. The Rotary Club of South Whidbey gleans excess produce from local farms for donation to the food bank, while an agreement between the Bayview Farmers Market, six of the aforementioned farm vendors, and Grow Whidbey allows Grow Whidbey apprentices to glean unsold produce at the close of market every Saturday from the end of April through October for the food bank. This benefits both the farms and the community as excess produce is salvaged and redirected to community members in need. In 2015, in-kind donations from home growers, farms, Grow Whidbey, and gleaning efforts accounted for nearly 24,000 pounds of fresh, local produce shared with the community by way of the food bank.