Reflections of a Food Deliverer
The YMCA Delivers Food (and Hope) throughout Whatcom County
As this pandemic continues, more of our neighbors face food insecurity. To alleviate this, the YMCA has partnered with the Bellingham Food Bank and Whatcom Unified Command to assist in the delivery of meals to all corners of the county. There are many in our community that do not have cars and, with limited bus service, find it difficult to get to a food bank for basic needs.
The Y's staff have happily stepped up to assist with the delivery, and the YMCA is proud to utilize our fleet of currently unused vehicles. Instead of the smiling, laughing children we usually transport, we are now transporting very crucial meals to help people eat!
One of our support teams discovered that traveling into the remote areas of Whatcom County can be challenging when we are used to relying on technology to navigate. Ironically, during this time of social distancing, they found themselves relying on the support of people to get them to where they needed to be.
The Y continues to serve during this crisis in any way we can. We are here for community, and we are in this together!
While making Food Bank deliveries to rural Whatcom County, we found ourselves struggling with the very thing we depend on every single day - our phones. Much of the mountainous areas of our county have little or no cell service. We sat there with three pages of addresses and no technology to locate them.
Paper maps, we thought! That's the answer! So we stopped at two different mini-marts to find either no maps at all, or a general Washington State map that featured the Seattle street grid.
The handful of patrons of the gas station mini-mart overheard my questions at the counter and started brainstorming ideas. One fellow brought up the East Whatcom County Regional Resource Center and everyone agreed. Several of them excitedly shared directions to the center, "It's huge, you can't miss it!"
When we arrived at the center it appeared closed, with many signs on the door telling us how we could reach them if needed. A friendly woman saw me and came out to the closed window so we could talk through our masks and the glass and gesture to convey full meaning. I held up our list of addresses to the window pane and her eyes scanned the familiar street names. She disappeared and in a few minutes returned with several printed sheets of paper, taped together to create a street map of the foothills area of Maple Falls.
We were able to deliver all of the boxes to the area and with the help, once again, of strangers - in this case staff at Mt.Baker high school - we were able to find an unmarked, hidden shack behind the railroad where a deaf resident was awaiting her delivery (we couldn't call her for directions!).
We were reminded that technology certainly isn't the answer for everything. Sometimes it is simply human contact and the kindness of strangers that will get us where we need to go.
Sharon Stone, Girls on the Run Program Coordinator
For more information, contact Tony Clark, YMCA Associate Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org