I applied to volunteer in 2005 at Blaine’s Visitor Information Center (VIC). When I asked Carol Solomon, the manager, if there was a slot open she noted, “nothing paid, only volunteers,” to which I responded, “that’s what I had in mind.” Carol regained her composure, and we’ve been a great team since.
Health issues and a need for personal time now intervene and with my current status as a substitute, the VIC’s need for volunteer staff is critical. As most retirees are gallivanting off somewhere spending time with grandkids, at vacation homes or doctor’s appointments, scheduling is like herding cats for Carol, while more fun than Keystone cops silent flicks, covering each other’s shifts when on hiatus.
During winter’s wind and rain, better spent inside, a whiff of pizza for ambiance, check out your opportunity for a three-hour shift welcoming visitors, telling people where to go, gassing with neighbors coming in for warmth during their daily walk or answering border problem phone inquiries.
Try it, you’ll like it. Call or drop in 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, to see if there’s a time slot that works for you. The VIC is located at the corner of H Street and Peace Portal Drive. There is off street parking, and the phone number is 332-4544.
As 2010 closes, the volunteers at Blaine Food Bank (BFB) would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the various schools, agencies and businesses that supported our facility this past year.
The Blaine schools deserve special mention as combined efforts totaled four tons of food and close to $500. During the year, the BFB benefited from food drives organized by government agencies. Local groceries and local churches deliver supplies monthly. Businesses donate to BFB on a regular basis. The Blaine Food Bank is so very lucky to be well stocked and funded by our local community.
While donations are vital for the Blaine Food Bank to operate as efficiently as it does, there is one group I would like to properly thank. There are 26 regular volunteers who work in the office, the warehouse, preparation and distribution rooms. This includes two gentlemen who are 96 and 95 years old who come in four mornings a week to sort and separate the plastic bags necessary for distribution (up to 2000 a week are needed). We have several 70-year-olds who are responsible for retrieving food from our partner agencies (Northwest Harvest, Food Lifeline, Salvation Army and Bellingham Food Bank).
Our robust 50- and 60-year-olds off-load our vans and reload the product into the warehouse. On distribution days, we have 15 more volunteers ranging in age from their mid 50s to their mid 80s sorting, prepping and creating bags and boxes for more than 300 families a week.
Lastly, there are high school students who are required to complete a community service project for graduation. They seem to love breaking down 500 pound bags of rice and oats into family-sized portions!
Without this gathering of hands, hearts and bodies there would be no Blaine Food Bank. It is an honor to watch the dedicated efforts of such a great and diverse group of people.
Blaine Food Bank
Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard is a Community Assistance Program facility in Blaine that provides basic household essentials to needy or destitute families. Sample of items available are: pots, pans, kitchen utensils, dishes, silverware, coffee pots, toasters, furniture (beds, lamps, sofas, chairs, coffee/end tables, etc.) and much more. If you or someone you know are in need of any of these items, please do not hesitate to call. Visits are by appointment only and can be made by calling 332-8981. The cupboard is only available during the week between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Donations are welcome and can be made by calling the same number. All donations are fully tax deductible. Needed at this time are a small kitchen/ dining room table, a vacuum cleaner and crock pot.
Happy New Year and thank you to all the volunteers, plungers, Lynn Roberst of Kafe Radio and Birch Bay Fire Department's EMT's for making Polar Bear 2011 a great event with an estimated 600 plungers!! Oh and let's not forget the sun! With a bright sunny day it made the event even more spectacular!
A very warm and special thank you to our sponsors and vendors, Tide Catcher, Pooch Palace , Cottages by the Beach and Bay Cafe @ Birch Bay!
This year the Birch Bay Chamber introduced our new mascot, “Brr the Bear” who danced and took pictures, adding to the festivities.
Find pictures on our website at www.birchbaychamber.com
John Gargett & Tammy Pearce
2011 Polar Bear Plunge chairs