Whidbey Island Nourishes (also known as W.I.N.) Is an outstanding "grassroots" Nonprofit organization. A handful of amazing people gather and organize volunteers from all over the community to raise money and personally prepare meals for hungry children in our community. It is an role model for communities all over our nation to work locally to serve the needs of their own communities.
Whidbey Island Nourishes epitomizes the notion of community. Our community consists of local farmers, teachers, churches, other nonprofits, and a cadre of committed volunteers who come together to provide nourishing food for area children and young people who do not have enough to eat, especially on week-ends when school lunches are not available.. The food that we deliver is in the form of nourishing sack lunches that children take home to supplement week-end meals and snacks that are available in free and convenient vending machines. This organization sprang from the observation that many of our young people were going without and with a sense that this kind of deprivation was not acceptable. This same sensibility sustains the work of a highly effective and committed board of directors and dozens of generous and willing volunteers who deem it a privilege to share the bounty of our community.
I make lunches for children each Monday, also on other days as needed. I love the idea that
volunteers make the jams, treats and that gleaners bring in fruit and vegies. Our local stores
donate as well. We supply food to vending machines, so that children do not have to sign
up, families do not have to have their names on list, just come in take the food you need.
Too often signing up, or being on a list is embarrassing for adults as well as children, we only
care that food is there for those in need. We may be a small Island, but we have big hearts
working to fill big needs.
When I first moved to Whidbey Island I looked for a place where my efforts as a volunteer would be put to good use. Everyone I asked told me I should go to W.I.N. The reason is that W.I.N. has a clear cause and effect. Volunteers can see the results of their work immediately. We make ready to eat foods for kids who are nutrient deprived, for whatever reason. W.I.N. has committed itself to providing local nutritious foods for families who need assistance with the nutritional needs of their children. The great thing about W.I.N., aside from its most amazing and incredible board, leaders, and volunteers, is that it partners with the South Whidbey Schools and other non profits to not only provide these ready to eat foods, but to teach kids how to feed themselves with good food. W.I.N. also assists in teachable moments such as 'A Taste of Washington', which provides kids with local farm produce made in tasty and appealing ways. Kids get to see and taste vegetables and fruits they might never have thought they would like. W.I.N. feeds so many kids every week, and the numbers keep rising. W.I.N. does this and allows the families to maintain their dignity and never makes anyone feel that they are not a contributing member of our community. Another wonderful program W.I.N. has is providing meals via free vending machines to kids who have no cooking facilities. The vending machines are located in places that are easily accessible and the kids can just get what they need. W.I.N. deserves all of the accolades it can get because it is reaching out to those who need food in a respectful and compassionate way. So much is done by W.I.N. I am hard pressed to detail all of it here.
This great program feeds homeless and hungry teenagers in our rural area of South Whidbey Island. WIN makes over 1500 healthy nutritious lunches per month at no cost to the kids or their families. WIN has been such a success in it's 6 year life that other communities have come to study the way it works.
When I moved to the Whidbey Island 5 years ago I was shocked to discover in a newspaper article we had so many families struggling to put nutritious meals on the table. I have been a WIN volunteer ever since that day. I am involved in many aspects which support WIN, but the one that brings me the greatest joy is working in the kitchen preparing weekend lunches for our school children and their siblings, and the daily food that goes into our no cost vending machines for our older youth in need of food. Over these five years WIN has evolved and become a strong, dependable organization. We're committed to using nutritious food, local food and we make sauces and jams from fruit that is gleaned around the island. All of this is a result of our passionate board members, committed donors, fundraising and dedicated volunteers. "It's a WIN-WIN" is a saying often heard amongst us while we work side by side in the kitchen preparing those lunches. We as a community ALL reap the benefits of seeing to the needs of our children!
WIN provides highly nutritious, ready-made meals at no cost to food insecure youth on South Whidbey Island. Meals are prepared with love by volunteers using high-quality ingredients, including produce from local farms and fruit gleaned from trees throughout the community. This is a true grassroots organization, and an asset not only to the kids who rely on WIN food to fuel their brains, but also to the volunteers who experience community and fulfillment through the work they do each week in the kitchen.
Whidbey Island Nourishes (WIN) provides sack lunches containing, sandwiches (peanut butter & jelly, ham and cheese, and turkey and cheese)yogurt, fruit, vegetables, and trail mix for school children, primarily in the elementary grades. Also provides lunches at other locations in the community. All items are either donated, or through donations from the community. There is no charge for this activity. Children are given a request form to fill out at the beginning of the school year. Community volunteers are the key to making the organization work.
W.I.N. has an amazing group of volunteers which make nutritious lunches lunches for kids on South Whidbey who are either homeless or food insecure. We have no-cost vending machines so kids can pick out what they will eat - with all choices being healthy. We also have a back pack program designed for families that sign up for meals on any non-school day.
WIN is also working to educate about better nurtrition in the SW Schools.
Whidbey Island nourishes has grow to the point that we now have enough business requirements that we find that we can offer our bread making requirements to a local bakery in Langley and both source more nutritious bread made with locally sourced grains etc to support our needs. Approximately 240 loaves per month. We fully realize that feeding the children alone is not the answer. We are aware that the political and economic climate contributes to why American families are unable to funds their lives. To the extent that our food requirements can create local business and local employment we can influence the economic development in our area. Small creative steps that help all of our families and children to have a place at the table.
Whidbey Island Nourishes (WIN) is a volunteer-powered organization devoted to nourishing young people by providing much- needed, no cost, meals on South Whidbey Island. Although we look like a vacation mecca, many of our children and families are food insecure. WIN strives to provide ready-to-eat meals as we attempt to help our clients make wholesome food choices, which includes whole wheat protein sandwiches, fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and trail mix. We enthusiastically do this every week often with the support of our schools and local farmers. We invite anyone to contact us to learn more or even visit. www.whidbeyislandnourishes.org, 360-221-7787. I am a volunteer and Board Member and long-time supporter!