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Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue makes a major donation - January 2024

Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue (CWFR) decorates one of their engines for Christmas, puts a live Santa Claus atop it, and plays recorded Christmas music on 8 separate nights in December as they travel through Coupeville and the outlying areas.

Not only is this a special treat for kids and adults in those neighborhoods, but CWFR also encourages those who come out to watch Santa’s progress to contribute non-perishable food items to them to be delivered to GFTH.

Our community was especially generous this last December. On January 2 2024, CWFR delivered a record total of 3,900 pounds of nonperishables to GFTH. They pulled their enclosed trailer up and within about 30 minutes in rainy, windy weather, several firefighters and two GFTH volunteers unloaded it. See attached photos for what it looked like when they opened the trailer and when everything was inside the foodbank. Aloha declared "I don’t know when I’ve had so much fun!"

CWFR donation

CWFR donation

CWFR donation
Aloha Hart with the Firefighters and the donated food.

Thanksgiving letter from the Queen Bee - 2023.

Hello Dear Food Bank Family

A message to let you know how thankful I am for all of you, all you do, and your generous hearts! Our clients and the students we serve appreciate your hard work too.

We have had many blessings this fall; we have a lot to be thankful for and I wanted to give you all a recap of some of our good fortune.

Our local farmers continue to support the food bank when they can. Rosehips Farm called to say we could have as much Golden Pippin squash as we could glean. A crew of volunteers was quickly rounded up to work the field on a beautiful, sunny morning. They filled the back of two cars with hundreds of ‘fresh from the field’ healthy squash for our clients. We also just took delivery of 50 acorn squash from Scenic Isle Farms (formerly Pioneer Farm). Aloha sent cute pics of the gleaning crew and squash but I can’t open them at work to include in this email.

We have also gotten fresh donations of produce from the Lords Garden, the Master Gardeners, the Knights of Columbus and individuals who share the bounty of their back yard gardens.

After the Boys and Girls Club moved out, we knew the entire building needed a good and thorough cleaning. Another call for volunteers was sent and a huge crew of 15 people showed up with their cleaning supplies, ladders, shop vacs and gloves. They all worked a good three hours and the food bank was spotless when they were done. This was a hard and dirty job….just the kind of work our food bank volunteers are not afraid to tackle. We had some fun too!

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Shopping Spree Total (left), Elain and Debbie having fun while cleaning the food bank (right)

Every year, the Coupeville Lions hold their Shopping Spree raffle. We sell tickets for one dollar and the winner gets to shop for as much food as they can get for three minutes. When they are done, the winner also gets a $50 gift card for meat. After the Lions pay the grocery bill for the winner, they donate the rest of the raffle proceeds to the food bank. Many, many people put the food bank on the ticket when they buy it. Our community likes to support the Lions and the food bank. We have won several times and we won again this year! A Lion and former food bank volunteer, Sandy Johnson, did the shopping for us. She got $459 worth of food, including the $50 gift card and the Lions will be sending the food bank a check for another $1,000. Win-win for the food bank and a fun event for the community!

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Carol and Ken, still smiling while cleaning the bathroom (left), Kelli Jo working hard on cleaning day (Middle), Sandy ‘shopping’ for us (right)

We continue to get very generous donations from individuals, groups, and businesses for our capital building fund campaign. We are getting close to the finish line. Some recent donations have included:

  • Two anonymous grants, totaling $35,000! The donors would like us to use them for a matching campaign to turn their gift into $70,000. We will be starting that campaign next week and hope to get some of the year-end charitable donations that so many people make.
  • This summer, PSE surprised us at the food bank with a check for $2,250 to purchase food. PSE has been a long-time supporter and their generosity has helped us many times, keeping our shelves full. They are aware of our new building goal. They wrote me yesterday to say the PSE Foundation has decided to contribute $20,000 to our building fund!!!
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    Molly, Rocio from PSE, Michele and Aloha accepting PSE donation

  • Another very meaningful gift, we were notified about yesterday, was from Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland. 20-year food bank volunteers, Carol and Darrell Dyer are very active in this church and have encouraged them to include us in their charitable giving. The church has also held several big food drives for us. They have a rule not to contribute to capital campaigns, but in this case, they wanted to make an exception. They are donating $5,000 to our building fund in honor of Carol and Darrell. The Dyers years of good work, for many nonprofits, continues to send blessings our way. Congratulations Carol and Darrell and thank you for your years of service to Gifts from the Heart! (Here is a picture of them with fellow Trinity Church member and 20-year food bank volunteer Peggy Swart)

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Trinity Church volunteers Peggy (center) with Carol (left) and Darrell (right)

We continue to get many large and small donations to the building fund. With these recent donations, I believe we are at about $868,000 of our $1,000,000 goal!

I could go on and on about other great food bank stories, there are as many as we have volunteers and clients, but I must end now. I will see some of you in an hour when we serve 140 families Thanksgiving food this afternoon. Happy thanksgiving to you all, I hope you have a nice weekend with friends and family and have time to relax and enjoy this beautiful place we call home. xo 🍗❤🍰


Nonprofit of the year 2022

Excellence Award

The Food Bank won "Nonprofit of the Year" from the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce at their annual Business Excellence Awards dinner. You could have knocked me over with a feather, I had no idea. Michele Johnson and Aloha Hart were given a 'heads up' we would be receiving the award and did a great job of keeping it from me all evening.....or else I'm just that slow to pick up on hints. Anyway, I was so proud to accept the award on your behalf. The Chamber Director said during the presentation that our food bank is run by a lot of unsung heroes, working quietly behind the scenes and she could not be more correct. This award is for the food bank, the Meals 2 Kids program, the drivers, shoppers, organizers, food picker-uppers, delivery people, and ALL the volunteers. There are so many critical jobs that are necessary to keep everything running. Thank you for always serving our mission to "respectfully provide food to those in need".

Coupeville Lions Shopping Spree Raffle 2022

The food bank was the lucky winner in the Coupeville Lions Shopping Spree Raffle again this year! We get to shop for as much food as we can get in three minutes at Prairie Center tomorrow, Saturday November12 at 8:30. Sandy Johnson, a Lion and food bank volunteer will be doing the shopping for us. She is quick like a bunny and really fun to watch! After the Lions pay the shopping bill from their raffle earnings, they give the rest of the money to the food bank. Win-win! The Coupeville Lions are great partners. Please join us at Prairie Center tomorrow morning. Don't be late, we only get three minutes!

Gifts From The Heart announces that a new building is to be built in Coupeville

This will be the new headquarters and all the operations will conducted in this building once complete. For more information got to our new building page on this web site.