SNAP Update

Dear Friends of Ferndale Food Bank,

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; formerly known as Food Stamps) assists low-income individuals and families buy the food that they need for good health and nutrition.  In response to the downturn of the economy, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) increased SNAP benefits as a way to ease hardship and stimulate the economy.  Benefits were increased by 13.6% beginning in April of 2009.  For example, the added benefit for a one-person household was $24 a month; for a two-person household, it increased $44 per month; for three, it increased $63 a month; and for four persons, the increase was $80 per month.

The ARRA’s temporary boost to SNAP benefits is scheduled to end on November 1, 2013.  This means that every household receiving SNAP benefits will have a cut in their benefits.  The Center on Budget and Policy Priority estimates that 1,113,000 Washington residents will be recipients of SNAP in 2014, which is 16% of the population.  It cites that $114,000,000 will be cut from Washington’s SNAP benefits from November 2013 – September 2014.

The Ferndale Food Bank serves clients Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from 9-11 a.m.

The Ferndale Food Bank serves clients Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from 9-11 a.m.

These losses are devastating for individuals and families; particularly in the light of the very low amount of basic SNAP benefits.  Without the ARRA boost, the benefits of SNAP will average less than $1.40 per person per meal in 2014.  The total national cut is estimated to $5 billion in fiscal year 2014.  It is likely that these cuts will cause additional hardships for many SNAP recipients; who nationally include 22 million children in 2014 and 9 million who are elderly or have a serious disability.  This cut equivalents to taking away 21 meals per month for a family of four, based on calculations in the Thrifty Food Plan.

Families who lose SNAP benefits increase their likelihood of having a child in poor health and at risk for developmental delays.  According to Feeding America, “Charity absolutely cannot make up for this substantial cut to federal food assistance.”  Cuts will result in 3.4 billion meals provided to low income Americans in 2014.  Millions of the most vulnerable individuals throughout the nation will be at risk of increased hunger with these cuts.

Please join efforts with the Ferndale Food Bank to make a positive difference in fighting hunger in Whatcom County.  Your generous donations of time, money, food, and resources are needed more than ever during these challenging times.

—Jen Haddad, Contributing Blogger

Ferndale Food Bank SignFerndale Food Bank accepts donations Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from 8 a.m. to Noon. Monetary donations can be mailed to atten: Suzanne Nevan, Executive Director, Ferndale Food Bank, P.O. Box 1593, Ferndale WA 98248.


Good Stuff In = Good Stuff Out: Tips for Healthy Eating

Dear Friends of Ferndale Food Bank,

As we all know, good nutrition helps reduce preventable diseases related to nutritional deficiencies and promotes healthy living. This month, certified Family Nurse Practitioner Erica Michaud volunteered at the Ferndale Food Bank and also offered some practical tips to help maintain a healthy lifestyle:

  • God stuff in, good stuff out

    (photo by lumpypudding)

    Try to eat at least 2 fresh fruits daily.

  • Make meals that combine whole grains, animal and plant protein, fruits, vegetables, and fat-free dairy products.
  • Whenever possible, plan weekly meals ahead of time to avoid eating out.
  • Choose less-processed bulk foods over highly processed microwave meals.
  • Choose iron-rich foods for children, a common deficiency. Foods containing iron include fish, poultry, egg yolks, peas, beans, whole-grain bread, raisins, and meats.
  • Common nutritional deficiencies in adults include magnesium and vitamin B-12. Foods such as leafy greens (Swiss chard and spinach), seeds, nuts, and dark chocolate contain magnesium. Vitamin B-12 rich foods include meat and fish (salmon and sardines).
  • Avoid sugary drinks. Limit milk to 1–2 servings per day as a beverage.
  • Use healthy oils, such as olive, canola and coconut oil.
  • Double or triple your recipe from bulk ingredients and freeze for later.
Erica helps with food requests in the distribution area

Erica helps with food requests in the distribution area

Remember to eat modest portions that meet your daily caloric needs and stay active. Physical activity, such as brisk walking, jogging, and swimming motivates individuals to select better foods. In addition to lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure, exercise and a healthy diet can also lower the risk of many different cancers, including breast, colon, kidney, pancreas, and esophagus.

Erica Michaud, F.N.P.

Erica Michaud, F.N.P.

“Healthy eating is possible with a tight budget. Making smart choices each day will enhance the health of your family and teach your children lifelong healthy eating habits,” says Erica.

“In other words, good stuff in, good stuff out. Nutrition directly impacts your body, mind, and soul.”

Tip: Try this recipe for delicious and Easy Disappearing Zucchini.

Time, Effort, and Kindness

Ferndale Food Bank Volunteer Spotlight: Irwin Koehn

Volunteer Irwin Koehn

Volunteer Irwin Koehn

On a brisk Saturday morning in October, Irwin Koehn, resident of rural Whatcom County since 1957, volunteered for his “first” time at the Ferndale Food Bank, along with several members of the Good News Fellowship Church of Ferndale. Cordial, communicative, and congenial, Irwin exemplifies the ideal volunteer: easy to direct, eager to work, compassionate about giving back.

Irwin tells of originally becoming involved with the Food Bank in March of this year—he arrived to volunteer in the Food Bank warehouse and actually ended up being dispatched to the United Church of Ferndale Pancake Breakfast to help serve at a monthly event that benefits the Ferndale Food Bank. Food is donated from the Food Bank to the church to feed the paying community and proceeds are then returned to the Food Bank. Since that first day, Irwin has volunteered every first Saturday of the month for the breakfast event and just this month made his reappearance at the Food Bank warehouse.

A volunteer stocks the food distribution area

Irwin stocks the food distribution area

Irwin has been married for 63 years, has four children, and in his spare time walks approximately three miles per day with his wife. Before volunteering at the Ferndale Food Bank, he volunteered weekly for the nonprofit Love Inc. for five years. During his career, he worked as a milkman, egg farmer, for the Whatcom County Road Department, and operated a mechanical brush cutter for eight years. He speaks fluent German and a bit of Russian. He has also participated in 14 mission trips with his church, traveling to Africa, India, the Philippines, Fiji, and Ukraine.

Irwins says he had a great time volunteering and plans on volunteering regularly with the Ferndale Food Bank in the future. Volunteering has helped keep him busy in his retirement years. Contributing time, effort, and kindness to the Ferndale Food Bank, Irwin joins many other volunteers in the community assisting others in need to uphold their integrity and eliminate hunger.

—Erica Michaud, Contributing Blogger


Irwin’s Favorite Poem:

“So live, that when thy summons comes to join

The innumerable caravan which moves

To that mysterious realm where each shall take

His chamber in the silent halls of death,

Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,

Scourged by his dungeon; but, sustain’d and soothed

By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,

Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch

About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.”

—From “Thanatopsis” By William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)

Irwin helps unload the Food Bank van

Irwin helps unload the Food Bank van

“It’s nice to receive help when you really need it.”

Client Dawn's childrenDawn, a single mother of 5 children, visited the Ferndale Food Bank for some assistance.  She explained that she has had a “hard past,” and been going through some challenges recently.  As she is currently on the list for housing assistance, she and her children have been living with her parents.

Dawn currently has no income and explained how important it has been for her family to get support from the community.  She described how the Ferndale Food Bank has provided her family with diapers and food when she has needed extra support and assistance.

“It’s nice to get help with resources when you are low income or have no income like me,” Dawn stated.  “It’s nice to receive help when you really need it.”

Volunteers await the first clients of the day

Volunteers await the first clients of the day

Hunger is experienced every day in Whatcom County.  Proper food and nutrition are essential for healthy minds and bodies.  The effects of hunger include disease, pain, physical weakness, anxiety, and death.  Proper nutrition is directly linked to healthy development for children; including proper physical growth.

Washington state’s rate of hunger exceeds the national average.  Washington is ranked fifteenth among U.S. states in hunger.  In Whatcom County, one in six individuals suffer from food insecurity.  One in four children are affected by food insecurity.  The Ferndale Food Bank provides food to an average of 150 families per week, and serves between twenty-eight and thirty thousand households per year.  It plays a vital role in sustaining the nutritional needs in the community.

Food in the warehouse will go to households in need

Food in the warehouse will go to households in need

Ending hunger in Whatcom County depends on the contributions and volunteer work of local community members.  Suzanne Nevan, Executive Director, is the only paid employee of the Ferndale Food Bank.  The organization receives approximately fifteen percent of its funding through the state of Washington; the remaining eighty-five percent is derived through donations, grants, and fundraising.

Suzanne explained the choices that people are being forced to make.  She asked, “When did a glass of milk for a child become a privilege?”  She talked about watching the elderly having to pick between purchasing food or medication.  With the support of the Food Bank, fewer residents of Whatcom County are having to make that choice.

Quality and balanced nutrition are key components of the Ferndale Food Bank.  Those receiving assistance are given the ingredients for complete meals as well as diapers and toiletries when needed.  The Food Bank is currently in need of protein for distribution.  Cash donations are needed to provide the organization with funds to purchase protein sources.

Nutrition is a critical component to a healthy life.  Good nutrition is vital in establishing and maintaining a solid foundation in children’s physical and mental health, academic achievement, and future economic productivity.  Food insecurity threatens this critical foundation for healthy development.  The existence and success of the Ferndale Food Bank are reliant upon contributions of volunteer time, money, food, and resources.  Cash donations allow the organization to purchase the particular items that it is in need of, and are tax deductible.  Your generosity will help to make a positive difference in the lives of Whatcom County children, families, and residents.

—Jen Haddad, Contributing Blogger

The Ferndale Food Bank accepts donations Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to Noon. Cash donations can also be mailed to Attn: Suzanne Nevan, Executive Director, Ferndale Food Bank, P.O. Box 1593, Ferndale WA 98248.

Ferndale Food Bank Sign

Mother and Son

A soft-spoken woman with a warm smile, Natasha is a married mom of two. Originally from Canada, Natasha and her family have lived in the Ferndale WA area for two years.

Today was Natasha’s seventh weekly visit to the Ferndale Food Bank. She and her eight-year-old son came to get much-needed groceries.

I met Natasha and her darling little boy while they waited their turn outside the Food Bank; she graciously agreed to share her story.

A volunteer stocks the food distribution area

A volunteer stocks the food distribution area

Natasha’s husband worked in residential construction but has been out of work for six months due to fewer new homes being built nowadays. With two young children to feed, Natasha still waited to come to the food bank until she felt she really needed to.

“The first time it was a little hard, but everyone here was really nice to me,” she said. Continue reading

Haggen Sale ~ Our Shopping Wish List

sticky noteDear Friends of Ferndale Food Bank: Food items are on sale through Tuesday, October 15, at our local Ferndale Haggen grocery store located at 1815 Main Street, Ferndale WA! If you are inspired to purchase and donate much-needed baking, breakfast, canned goods and other food items to the food bank, here’s our Haggen Shopping Wish List for this week:


  • General Mills Cereal – 2 for $4.00


  • Betty Crocker Cookie Mix – $1.80 ea
  • Haggen Chocolate Chips – $1.80 ea
  • Haggen Brown Sugar – $.80 ea


  • Haggen Pasta – 5 for $5.00


  • Kraft Dressing – $.99 ea


  • Haggen Beans – $.80 ea
  • Haggen Fruit – $.80 ea
  • Haggen Olives – 5 for $5.00
  • Haggen Soup or Broth (Chicken Broth, Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Chicken) – $.80 ea
  • Nalley Chili – 5 for $5.00

While ad prices are valid for the Ferndale Haggen only, Haggen has store locations throughout Washington; to find a store near you, visit

Located at 1671 Main Street, Ferndale WA, the Ferndale Food Bank accepts donations Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from 8 a.m. to Noon.

Thank you for your generosity in helping us deliver food to those in need with dignity and respect!

Easy Recipe: Disappearing Zucchini

Courgette_J1Dear FFB Friends,

Everyone knows how important it is to eat our vegetables. Zucchini is one of the easiest vegetables to prepare and serve and is also easy to grow in a home garden. This summer squash can reach nearly a yard in length, although it’s generally harvested at half that size.

Health tip: Consuming raw or grilled zucchini counts toward the nine 1/2-cup servings of fruits and vegetables you should consume each day, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.

Recipe: Here’s a healthy recipe for zucchini that tastes good and is good for you. Continue reading