Poverty lurks in corners of prosperity




Posted on December 4, 2013 at 5:45 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 4 at 6:23 PM

With the line at the Ferndale food bank out the door Wednesday, volunteer Sam Taylor barely got in the door before he was put to work. He started stocking the shelves for another busy month.

The food bank will provide up 2800 meals this December in the Bellingham suburb. Ferndale is a sleepy bedroom community, but the need for food is eye-opening. Distributions at the food bank keep rising, up 44 percent just since 2010.

"We have Mount Baker. We have the riverwalk, but we have hungry people here, too," Taylor said.

Whatcom County is now the third most expensive county in which to live in Washington, yet a quarter of the children go to bed not knowing where their next meal is coming from. It's a statistic that hits home at Ferndale City Hall. In addition to his work with the food bank, Sam Taylor is the City Clerk for Ferndale. At one point, he was also a food bank recipient.

"It had a big impact on me," he said.

As a 12-year-old boy growing up in Idaho, Taylor's dad got hurt while working as a mall maintenence man. He couldn't work then, and is disabled to this day. Taylor credits the food bank with helping his working class family stay together, and allowing him to focus on his hunger for knowledge.

"I wouldn't be where I am today without it," he said. "I'm very proud of the fact that I'm the first person to graduate from a 4-year college in my immediate family, and that's something my parents are very proud of too."

Giving all families that chance is what the Ferndale Food Bank food bank is all about.

"If you haven't had milk, which all the other kids take for granted, you feel less than," said Food Bank Director Suzanne Nevan. "What this and all the other food banks across this country do is make people feel more than."

It's the same chance that Sam Taylor was given, one that now allows him to now give back.

"More than anything it reminds me that we're all the same," he said, after filling another shopping cart full of food for a client. "Anyone can be hungry."

You can help feed our community's hungry this holiday season by donating to KING 5's Hometown Harvest. Cash donations are accepted at any US Bank branch. You can also purchase a bag of groceries at Safeway, or text "hometeam" to 8-5-9-4-4 to make a ten dollar donation.