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Woodinville Storehouse offers more than food to

The Woodinville Weekly of Woodinville, Washington

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The smell of a hot, fresh meal. The clatter of silverware on plates Laughter, questions and stories Gathering together around the dinner table is a nightly ritual that unites many families. For other families that's not always an option. That's where the Woodinville Storehouse comes in.

Julia Francis has been a board member and volunteer at Woodinville's food bank for five years.

Thanks to the Woodinville Storehouse, that nightly tradition is now available to families regardless of their income.

Thefood bank was started by Love INC, a Christian-based national organization. But then in 2010 Love INC pulled out of the area.

Acoahtion of local churches took ownership of the food bank, and it reopened as the Woodinville Storehouse in its current location, the Woodinville Community United Methodist Church, 17110,140th Ave. NE:

Francis has been involved ever since the food bank's new beginning.

"It meant a lot to know that these families would have the food and the nourishment that they need to have in their homes," she said. "Regard less of people'scircumstances and their income levels."

In addition to regular canned and nonperishable goods, volunteers use donated money to buy milk, eggs, meat and fresh produce every week. Franz Bakery and Panera also donate fresh baked goods every week. The storehouse also gets lots of donations from individuals, both in the form of food and monetary donations. Both are welcome, although money can go a bit farther, since then the food bank can buy what they need in bulk. The storehouse is open Tuesdays from 6:30-7:20 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:30-10:20 a.m.

Anyone can show up; people who are homeless get a pack of food that won't go bad on the streets. Everyone else needs to bring proof that they live in Woodinville, Bothell, Kirkland or Redmond, whether that's an ID, driver's license or utility bill.

They get a volunteer to go through the aisles with them and help them pick out their food.

"What makes us different is we're not a super large food bank," Francis said. "When people come to our food bank we feel like there's comfort there."

Since the food bank is run through a network churches, it also offers spiritual support.

"One of the things that makes us unique is that we would provide prayer support for any client who is interested," Francis said. Clients can ask to be added to a weekly prayer list that goes out to volunteers.

"We want people to understand that they can get their nourishment and it's all through God's hands," Francis said. "He wants us to care for those people as he would care for them." Although many of the volunteers belong to a church, some do not. Anyone is welcome to volunteer; just visit Woodinville store for details.

Last month, the Woodinville Storehouse was one of the groups at the second annual Care Day in Bothell. Care Day connects services like free haircuts, hot meals, medical screenings and legal services to people in the community who need them. More than 400 people showed up.

The popularity of the event was "pretty astounding," Francis said.

"I think we look at our community and it's a fairly comfortable community to live in," she said. "I don't think people look at the Eastside and think poverty."

People tend to have misconceptions about the people who need to go to food banks, Francis said.

"The misconception is that people who go to food banks are at poverty levels or aren't working," she said. The reality is that people in all different situations may find themselves needing to stop by the food bank from time to time.

Some of the people who used to come to the food bank as clients were able to get back on their feet and are now volunteers.

"I don't think it's just the food, I think it's the environment," Francis said. "It's a nurturing environment, and it's a caring environment."

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Original Publication Date: July 13, 2015

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