September 28, 2011
For the first time since 2009, King County’s budget proposal has no cuts in it. Efficiencies and cost savings are to thank, County Executive Dow Constantine said when he presented his 2012 budget proposal to the County Council on Sept. 26.
“My proposed budget is balanced, with no further cuts to services in the General Fund, by working with employees to make this government more efficient,” Constantine said. “Surrounded everywhere by seas of red ink, we have made King County an island of relative stability.”
Constantine’s budget is $5.3 billion, with $648 million in the General Fund.
December 1, 2010
The need is great every year.
Despite the cold, more than 300 families went to the Mount Si Helping Hand Food Bank last week, seeking a little help for the cupboard.
Luckily for the Valley, the community’s generosity is pretty great every year, too.
Ways abound to spell solidarity in the Valley around the holidays. The North Bend-based Mount Si Helping Hand Food Bank and the Kiwanis-sponsored Giving Tree campaign both are hitting it into overdrive as the holiday season begins in earnest.
“We live in a very giving community,” said Heidi Dukich, director of the food bank.
With the economy on the mend, the community also houses people in need, Dukich said. It’s a mistake to think of these people as freeloaders, she added.
“They get a hand up, not a hand out,” she said. “They come and they receive kindness and respect. Many of them are working and they just need some help.”
It’s not all about the food at the food bank, Dukich said. A big part of it is making a connection with people. That, she said, is how you build a community.
“Touching the lives of people who are in difficult times is wonderful and it’s what makes our community great to be part of,” she said.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving was a busy day at the food bank, with 16 volunteers helping.
Although Christmas is less than a month away, there is already another campaign for children of poor families under way.
The Giving Tree is collecting toys in 12 locations across the Valley and will collect them until Dec. 15.
Tina Maloney, the campaign’s chairperson said the Giving Tree goes back almost 15 years in the Valley.
On Dec. 15, volunteers will take all of the toys collected to Si View Park. Once the toys are there, Maloney and others will contact people who have signed up for toys for their children at the food bank.
“They’ll make an appointment,” Maloney said, “and they’ll come shop for their kids.”
Sign-up sheets will be available Dec. 8 and 15.
Parents are given points to shop with. One point equals about $10. Each parent gets between five and six points per child, or between $50 and $60 of shopping money per child.
The Kiwanis’ Giving Tree is taking donations at the city library, Cascade Office Supply, Encompass, QFC, Safeway, Ace Hardware and the Moose Lodge in North Bend; at Snoqualmie Falls Credit Union, Steve’s Doughnuts, IGA and City Hall in Snoqualmie; and at Hauglie Insurance in Fall City.
The Kiwanis’ high school branch, Key Club, is also collecting toys at Mount Si High School.
Children up to age 18 are eligible for a gift. Gift cards are OK; live pets as gifts are not, Maloney said.
Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or email@example.com.
October 27, 2010
NEW — 6:26 p.m. Oct. 27, 2010
As the Metropolitan King County Council deliberates over next year’s budget, human services providers affected by proposed cuts are making sure their voices are heard.
County Executive Dow Constantine’s budget proposal cuts the last of the county’s once healthy general-fund monies for human services as part of austerity measures to close an impending $60 million shortfall.
Providers of services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and other services have broadcast the need for their services to the budget committee at three public hearings in October.
One woman, a survivor of domestic violence, bluntly told council members at a public hearing, “I would be dead without these services.”
Formerly trapped in a violent relationship, the woman is now a public school teacher.
“They’re making a compelling case for us to reprioritize the executive’s budget,” Councilwoman Julia Patterson said after a public hearing at Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie.
Constantine’s office doesn’t defend the cuts, except to say that the executive is legally obligated to deliver a balanced budget proposal to County Council.
August 26, 2010
NEW — 3:00 p.m. Aug. 26, 2010
Every year around July, Nancy Flanagan and Jan Van Liew wonder if they will meet the needs of children in the Valley.
And every year so far, the same answer arrives in late August: “Yes, by the grace of God,” Flanagan said.
July 30, 2010
By Laura Geggel and Christopher Huber
NEW — 7:00 a.m. July 30, 2010
Juan Carlos Giron waited in line with about a dozen other Valley residents July 21 as the morning sun hit the east wall of the Mount Si Helping Hand Food Bank.
Giron is originally from El Salvador, he said, but he has lived in North Bend for about two years since moving from Los Angeles, then Federal Way. He loves it here because of its tranquil atmosphere, he said in Spanish — he speaks enough English to get by, though. And he has some friends in the Valley.
April 7, 2010
NEW — 2:41 p.m. April 7, 2010
By Sarah Gerdes
According to Washington statistics, 12 percent of the population is in need of assistance from food banks. With many low on or even out of food, questions of quality, availability and community participation are more critical than ever.
March 3, 2010
NEW — 1:40 p.m. March 3, 2010
Shannon Barrie, who hadn’t seen her father in years, suddenly found herself taking care of him in his old age.
James Arthur Barrie has dementia, and although he is aware of the present during his lucid periods, his daughter realized she didn’t have the resources to care for him on her own. She called Adult Protective Services. When they learned her father was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, they referred her to Joel Estey, manager of the King County Veterans’ Program.
August 12, 2009
As the need for food grows, so does the Mt. Si Helping Hand Food Bank.
Following the recent expansion of the facility in North Bend, the food bank has hired a new executive director and is in the process of hiring a new operations manager.
Former coordinator Gail Gergasko had assumed each of those positions the last five years, before deciding to take on a more limited role. Because her departure coincides with the fact that the food bank has experienced an increased need of 50 percent the last six months, the food bank decided to split the position into two.
January 27, 2009
North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing presented the Citizen of the Year award to Gail Gergasko at the Jan. 20 City Council meeting.
Gergasko is the coordinator of the Mt. Si Helping Hands Food Bank.
Hearing cited Gergasko’s efforts to expand the food bank from 950 to 1,450 square feet as one of the reasons she was chosen as Citizen of the Year. The effort began in 2007. Gergasko helped to raise $90,000 for the expansion project. She also worked with an audio-visual class at Mt. Si High School to create a video to promote the food bank expansion. Read more
December 26, 2008
When called upon, Snoqualmie Valley stepped up to the plate, hitting home runs for toy drives, food banks and coat collections for those in need this winter.
Donna Padilla, the North Bend organizer of Baker’s Angels, added seven new bakers to her fold after locals recently learned about her team of kitchen wizards that baked treats for wounded soldiers.