“No matter where you are from, we’re glad you are our neighbor”
In January, a volunteer brought in a sign that shared this sentiment in English, Spanish and Arabic. We immediately hung it on the wall as I felt the statement reflected what it means to be ‘neighbors helping neighbors’. At first I thought it was a simple gesture. However, I’m finding this message takes on greater significance, especially to our clients, day after day. Recently one gentleman smiled and graciously said “thank you” for posting this message. Upon further conversation, I learned that he had been told that once the wall was built that he would not be here anymore. That he did not belong here.
These past few months all of us at the food bank have heard similar stories. Stories of fear as families in our community are afraid to leave their homes. Wondering what their immigration status will mean for their children in schools or their access to supportive services like healthcare and food stamps. Afraid to go to school, work or even come shop for food. While this uncertainty is challenging, it reaffirms how critical it is that we are a place of compassion and trust, where clients feel safe accessing food and services that help them in their time of need.
These stories made me realize that in no way is this sign a simple gesture - this is a declaration of our values. A cornerstone of the foundation that we have built the Ballard Food Bank to stand on. It is critical to our community that all of us feel welcome, that we belong and that everyone has access to food and hope.
Despite these challenging times there are signs of hope. New volunteers are signing up as they feel compelled to get involved and support those in our community. Now, more than ever we need all our neighbors to volunteer, act and support causes and organizations that they believe make a difference.
At the Ballard Food Bank, all our neighbors belong. And we’re glad you are our neighbor.
- Jen Muzia,