Making The Most of Every Space

This post was written by Shirley Ferkingstad, our Resource Center Program Manager.

Most hallways are relatively non-descript—some pictures, the door to the bathroom, dust bunnies. But at FamilyWorks we utilize the hallway in a unique way to offer a variety of services that complement our Food Bank & Resource Center and to cultivate a stronger sense of connection and community . . . especially when we have a captive audience, patiently waiting in line for the food bank.

There is always information about FamilyWorks classes and various community services posted in the hallway and you might walk in and find our volunteer Cora (who you might remember from a previous post) playing her keyboard and singing her songs, brightening the days of our customers waiting in line for other services. Several times a month there will be a WithinReach representative at a table in the hall eager to talk with/assist you in signing up for health benefits, food stamps, or other public benefits.

DSCN0193Or you might find someone from Budget Mobile talking to folks about getting a free cell phone. Our upstairs neighbors, Solid Ground, also provide information tables about their services and in the Spring they do a seed giveaway in the hallway. You may even come across some Artisan bread on the racks outside the Food Bank. You never know what to expect–music, food, information, surprises.

Utilizing the hallway to provide meaningful programming to our customers and community is just another example of how FamilyWorks seeks to Nourish, Connect and Empower our most vulnerable neighbors.

Please consider supporting FamilyWorks during the GiveBIG campaign on May 6.

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The Power of Connections

Accessing job, parenting or other types of resources can be difficult if you don’t know where to find them. Fortunately, FamilyWorks offers a variety of ways to equip and connect people and families with the resources they need. 

The following letter was food bank hands (from 2013 dinner video)written by a customer of FamilyWorks who was able to access vital parenting and community resources as a result of working with our staff. The letter is shared with her permission.

Dear Mrs. Weber,

My name is Anisa and I am from Somalia. My family and I are in your program. Somalia is a place of war and turmoil. It is where dreams are taken away because of civil war. Everyone in the country is affected including older adults, young people, and babies. War destroys safety most of all, but also education, jobs, health, and good income. In my case, even though I had my health, I didn’t have my education, job, or any kind of income. I was a kind of limbo. Because I believe risk can create opportunity, I decided to come to the USA.

After I came to the USA, my life improved dramatically. I was feeling lonely and not knowing this country. I met you, Jake, and you are most welcoming person I have ever met and your program helped me to take a CPR and parenting classes which helped a lot for my family. You also give me opportunity to volunteer at Food Bank which was the greatest experience I have ever had. You introduced me to Mayor Mike McGinn. He told me about the possibility of an exciting position. This would be a Somalian outreach engagement project that shows me motivation to achieve my goal.

Thank you for all your help and support. My family and I are very grateful I met you and your program. FamilyWorks is my “911.”



–Please consider supporting FamilyWorks during the Give BIG campaign on May 6.

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FamilyWorks Monthly Drive Program

We have launched a monthly drive program that anyone can do on their own time!

There are certain items we are looking to have donated during particular months. In light of the cold weather our focus for February isSoups and Stews canned soups and stews, adult long underwear and hygiene supplies. Hygiene supplies include: razors, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, sanitary pads, tampons, condoms, toilet paper. Thank you for your consideration!

 Important: Please call FamilyWorks at 206-694-6727 to make sure there is a staff person available to accept donations. Donations can only be dropped off during our hours of operation.

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“It takes all I have to keep a roof over my head”

The FamilyWorks Food Bank is dedicated to providing fresh, healthy groceries to people and families in our community. This can be a lifeline for individuals who have limited resources available each month and need a hand in making their paycheck stretch a little further. Such was the experience of Caroline, a CNA caregiver and FamilyWorks customer.

Caroline’s finances recently took a one-two punch when both the elderly client she was caring for went to a nursing home and her savings had to be put toward a costly car repair. Caroline recently shared her story with us:



“A few months ago I lost almost 60% of my income and am trying to stay afloat paying my bills. I finally realized that buying food was the last thing on my mind. I ate all that I had in my apartment and had reached the end of my rope. While reading a book from the library it was brought to my attention that food banks existed, so I went back to the library and did some research and found FamilyWorks Food Bank. I am so thankful because without this resource I would have nothing to eat because at the end of every paycheck the last thing on my mind is food because it takes all I have to keep a roof over my head.”

Caroline loves working with people and lending a helping hand, so while she is looking for more work she is also helping us by volunteering every Friday at the Food Bank!

Like many in our community Caroline’s story in not unique. Fortunately, like Caroline, customers of FamilyWorks can find nourishment at our Food Bank and gain access to vital resources at our Family Resource Center. Both sets of services help these individuals and families get back on their feet and weather difficult seasons.

During this holiday season please consider making a donation to FamilyWorks and join with us in cultivating a more vibrant and resilient community for everyone.

Make an online donation to FamilyWorks today.

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by | December 20, 2013 · 1:43 pm

Thanks to the awesome folks at EVO

Food Bank Manager Extraordinaire, Ava Dowell and some of the awesome employees of EVO

Food Bank Manager Extraordinaire, Ava Dowell and some of the awesome employees of EVO

We have the good fortune to have EVO, a neighborhood partner specializing in ski and snowboard equipment, helping out this week in our food bank.  We are excited to be partnering with such a civic-minded and socially conscious organization!

By David Tate

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Thanksgiving At The Nickerson Street Saloon And Grill

Thanksgiving at the Nickerson

The best turkey I’ve ever had. -Ken-

The Nickerson Street Saloon And Grill hosted a wonderful thanksgiving day feast for our customers at FamilyWorks.  Chris Martino, owner of Martino’s Smoked Meats,  served smoked turkey breast, home style mashed potatoes and gravy,  savory dressing and sauted green beans for lunch…..delicious!

Special thanks from FamilyWorks to Chris Gerke, owner of the Nickerson, and to all of his staff who volunteered to help make the day a success.

-By David Tate-

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Now Accepting Holiday Food Donations

For many in our community the holidays can be an especially difficult time. At FamilyWorks we feel fortunate that every year we are able to give special holiday food to the many families and individuals who depend on us. We’re able to offer these item because of the generous donations of our donors and community members.

If you would like to donate holiday food to a family in need this season, staff & community volunteers will be accepting donations at FamilyWorks through Tuesday, December 23.

Wish List:

  • Frozen turkeys
  • Stuffing
  • Canned green beans, peas and corn
  • Gravy mix
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Pumpkin pie mix
  • Evaporated milk
  • Boxed mashed potato flakes

Holiday food donations will be accepted at FamilyWorks during our normal business hours, which are:

  • Monday – 9:30am – 12pm
  • Tuesday – 9:30am – 5pm
  • Wednesday – 9:30am – 5pm
  • Thursday – 9:30am – 5pm
  • Friday – 9:30am – 1pm

Thank you for helping to make this a wonderful holiday season for all.

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