Through merging, the Bonney Lake Food Bank and the Sumner Community Food Bank hope to remove the stigma behind asking for help. This uniting process will allow the company to double in size as well as service time, food resources and volunteers.
“We’re gonna be able to synergize the activities at both food banks to really make an impact in our community in feeding the people that need to be fed with dignity and respect,” said John Radar, chairman of the board for the Sumner Community Food Bank.
The merger will result in a new name for the organization that won’t include the words “food bank” anymore. Stacey Crnich is the CEO of the organization formerly known as the Bonney Lake Food Bank and the Sumner Community Food Bank; she explained that people know that it’s a food bank and not including those words on the building is one step in eliminating the connotation behind getting support.
Not every person experiencing food insecurity has a good experience with asking for help. One story that Crnich mentioned was about a conversation she had with a woman in a grocery store. Crnich shared that the woman wished she could have experienced a market like the one in Bonney Lake because she had a bad experience with asking for help after going through a divorce.
“It was a horrible time in the family, only made more horrible by having to go to a food bank and she will never forget it,” said Crnich. “So I think we know that stigma and shame leave imprints on our hearts and our minds that are just as traumatizing as the food insecurity itself.”
The food operation that the organization provides will be called “The Market” and is one amongst several services that will be restructured in addition to the home delivery program. In addition to the name change, the operation will be able to serve more people as the Bonney Lake location is open from 10 a.m. to noon and Sumner from noon to 3 p.m., people will have a larger time slot to receive services.
As a team, the goals of the executives at Bonney Lake and Sumner are to share the wealth when items are overabundant and be able to better compensate when shortages occur. Furthermore, the organization will continue to work with first-generation farmers at their greenhouse to share the produce grown and harvested there.
Anyone interested in volunteering can get involved with the organization by donating their skills and creating projects to help the nonprofit. One thing Crnich said about volunteering is that the youth of today seem to have a passion for helping others.
“Being involved in any capacity, whether that is working in the drive-thru with us or maybe doing an internship, where you’re donating some of your expertise in whatever study that you are pursuing would be really incredible,” said Crnich.
The Bonney Lake Food Bank and the Sumner Community Food Bank are currently in the design phase of the merger. One of the messages the board shared was that helping at the Bonney Lake and Sumner locations is one way to remove the connotation behind food insecurity and give back to the community. More information can be found at the Bonney Lake and the Sumner Community Food Bank website.
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