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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Whidbey Island Nourishes

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Food, Food Programs

Mission: Whidbey Island Nourishes (WIN) is a volunteer-powered, nonprofit organization dedicated to nourishing youth and others in need on South Whidbey Island by delivering no-cost, ready-to-eat meals while promoting nutrition education and good food choices.

Target demographics: provide supplemental nutrition to children and families

Direct beneficiaries per year: by providing 24,000 meals to the community.

Geographic areas served: South Whidbey Island

Programs: take home meals distributed through "Backpacks" or at no-cost vending machines in the community.

Community Stories

24 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with W.I.N. for nearly 3 years and my family was also receiving the weekly lunches. They are an amazing organization that truly cares about their community and the families they service. They helped us through some very difficult times and I would like to see them receive the recognition they so greatly deserve.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve volunteered in the WIN kitchen for nearly ten years. A WIN shift is the perfect mix of high energy, organized chaos and joy. The end product, something to share with the community, never ceases to amaze me.

What most impresses me about WIN is how successfully the organization collaborates with our local schools. Who better than teachers to identify kids in need and where better than the classroom to grab a bag of healthy food to take home? The “backpack” program is at the heart of WIN but the organization does so much more. Free vending machines in public spaces are re-stocked daily with healthy snacks. Farmers and gleaners bring fresh fruit to the WIN kitchen that would otherwise go to waste. Produce from the school garden is washed, prepped and packaged by WIN volunteers. At-home bakers contribute healthy treats. Special events bring kids into the kitchen where they turn locally grown produce into salads, applesauce and jam. A team of volunteer drivers delivers “family bags” to homes within a 20-mile radius.

WIN’s commitment to nutrition makes a difference in people's lives now AND later. The organization doesn't just provide healthy food for families in need, it goes the extra mile to teach kids about good food choices. With a team that’s nearly 100% volunteer, WIN tackles an immediate need while laying the groundwork for long-term change.


General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The number of homeless and food deprived children in our community was a surprise to me. So it is with a grateful heart that I recognize WIN's marvelous work. The many volunteers prepare and deliver healthy meals to kids that would otherwise go hungry when school is not in session and to the homeless that would otherwise go without. To all of those who make this organization possible...thank you. There could not be a more worthy cause.

Dorit Zingarelli

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Whidbey Island Nourishes, a volunteer based non profit, has helped feed kids in need in our community for over 10 years, providing the nutrition for their growing brains and bodies that might not be there otherwise. The families express their deep gratitude for the help and support, the kids feel like someone cares about them and all the volunteers have a wonderful, fun and rewarding time helping create freshly prepared, healthy meals which are distributed through the schools, local food bank, other organizations that support kids and through cost free vending machines. Over the years W.I.N. has become a finely tuned, highly efficient and much loved and respected organization, receiving almost all it's funding from personal donations and festive fundraisers. All support is welcome. Thank you.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I moved to Whidbey Island full time 9 years ago and knew that when I retired, I would want to volunteer for a non profit. I kept an eye out for one that sparked my interest - one that spoke to my heart. A friend invited me to a volunteer appreciation tea for WIN and it was the perfect match. With a desire to help those less fortunate than myself and a love of kids, WIN was a place I could use my talents. From serving on a kitchen team to being a board member and now president of the board...this organization is magic. Volunteers are welcomed with open arms and skills or no skills you are put to work with some of the friendliest folks around. Everything works like a well-oiled machine after nearly 11 years of refining the systems for preparing and delivering our nutritious meals. New ideas are always welcomed and teams for chopping, making sandwiches, granola, hard-boiled eggs, washing fruits and veggies, baking healthy treats, delivering meals, setting up events...a job for everyone with the desire to take part. Our founder, Mary Fisher, had a dream of helping our local kids that were homeless and camping in the woods. She gathered friends and ideas and made a plan. 50 homemade, ready to eat, nutritious meals each week were handed out in front of a local coffee shop and it began. The idea was contagious and the team of volunteers grew. A fund-raising component was added and our generous community gave. Now here we are...no one could have imagined that we would have been able to grow to match the burgeoning need. Through the dedication and skill of volunteers and generosity of our community we are preparing and delivering 2500-3000 nutritious meals each month to the families on South Whidbey Island. Everyone wants children to be healthy and happy. With a full stomach a child can learn and grow. What more can you ask for?

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Over nine years ago I volunteered for a shift with WIN...I never left. WIN has grown and changed over the nine years I’ve been involved. It is an organization with heart and strives in all ways to meet the food needs of our youth on the south end of the island. I am proud tibe a part of this organization!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Mary Ann S.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Whidbey Island Nourishes is an extraordinary nonprofit on Whidbey Island , Washington supporting those in need on the South end of the Island. Feeding children, homeless and those in need of healthy nutritious food. A robust group of volunteers works weekly to ensure that the school gardens are supported, local food banks along with the homeless shelter for young people are provided nutritious ready-to-eat food. Our 49 volunteers just this past month have donated over 291 hours . What a fantastic organization !

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Not long after moving to Whidbey Island, I read about WIN in a local newspaper, and I was so impressed with the goals of the founding ladies that I became a volunteer. I cannot express my admiration and amazement at the achievements in those years by all the people who have given their time and dedication to make it a truly successful social programme. For many of those years, WIN was all-volunteer and yet was able to take on the growing need for nutritious meals by competently developing the organisation in all areas of management, streamlining systems and adjusting as necessary. I strongly believe that WIN should be imitated by other communities who are looking for ways to improve the lot of those less fortunate. It has been my privilege to be part of the organisation for so long and in the present environment, when few are finding ways to solve social problems, it gives one reason to be optimistic about the future.

Marilyn H

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with WIN has been an extraordinary one. I have volunteered in the kitchen preparing the nutritious backpack meals for the past 6 years. All of the volunteers are incredibly kind people who realize the importance of the mission which is to help ensure kids get healthy meals.
WIN is a smooth running non profit thanks to our incredible operations manager. She is able to procure delicious fresh foods on a very low budget. She has set up processes and procedures which ensure the food gets prepared and delivered in a safe and efficient manner.
I have the privilege of serving on WIN's board of directors who are all also volunteers in the kitchen. Members of this board work diligently and in a cooperative manner to see that WIN is able to continue to help meet the food needs of our community's kids. In addition to the fact that all volunteers at WIN work towards alleviating hunger in our community, we also have fun. This truly enriches the work we do.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined the WIN team shortly after the program began over 10 years ago. We were making about 50 lunches per week at that time. My initial thoughts of helping families to eat nourishing food were spot on, but soon I realized it was more than that as I formed new friendships while providing food that helps kids and families to have dignity with a full tummy. There is no stigma to receiving our lunches, as everything is private.
After joining the Board I was able to use my expertise to help improve the quality of the food we provide. Weekly, we send home quality protein foods, which are often lacking in the foods that hungry people are sometimes forced to eat. We also provide very fresh (from local gardens) produce in the summer, freshly made applesauce in the fall, homemade trail mix and hummus, along with homemade treats. We now are providing between 2500 and 3000 meals per month. It is a privilege to be part of the WIN organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Thursday is y favorite day of the week because I get to go to the school kitchen which the county provides to us at no cost, to help prepare meals for kids who are in need. It's anonymous. They don't know us, we don't know them, other than, perhaps the WIN manager. She notifies all of the south Whidbey schools, public and private, that if there are children in need, we are there to help. She gets the names of children and part of our volunteer group takes the "backpacks" of food to the school for them. Others, like my husband, deliver to homes in the area where the parent(s) are not able to go to Good Cheer, a food bank on the south part of the island, to pick uo meals for pre-school children, let alone deliveries during school holidays and summer.

I spent the first 5 years that we lived here making a nutritious recipe for trail mix at the Unitarian-Universalist kitchen on Monday mornings along with 3 other volunteers who make burritos, 4 years ago, I began helping out at the school on Thursdays as well. An extended trip caused me to find someone to take my place at the UU kitchen while I was gone for several months. She had so much fun and made such good friendships with the other volunteers, that she asked if she could permanently take my place there. We agreed that I did the first 5 years, she will do the next 5 years.
Now in my 7th year helping out with WIN, I so look forward to being with our team of happy helpers in the school kitchen. We have over 160 children to feed each week, and we are all happy to pitch in to see to it that those children in need get nutrition and tasty meals that they would not have otherwise.
Three cheers to the women who created this program over 10 years ago and are still active in the program. And, 3 cheers to all of the men and women who come into the kitchen of their chosen day(s) of the week to help make this possible. Thanks also go to each and every person who donates to WIN.

Board Member

Rating: 5

WIN is an example of an organization that gets it right. A group of energetic volunteers bound together by the heart-felt desire to feed kids the most nutritious food possible. I came to the organization driven by the need to help, and found a family that embraced me while at the same time delivering on the core promise to feed kids. I have recently joined the board and have seen the inner workings of a well-run organization that directs most of the dollars directly to the meals provided to our community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Jeanniemaria B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Laura168

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

WIN has made a tremendous difference in our communities hungry by providing nutritious sandwiches in vending machines at easy access locations, free of charge!

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.