Ferndale Other Bank was established in 2001 and had about 35 volunteers in 2015.
Purpose: The Other Bank was started when a group of Ferndale High School students recognized that some of their classmates were in need of assistance. Since toothpaste, shampoo, laundry detergent and other basics could not be purchased with food stamp funds (now SNAP), they had to do without. The FHS students began collecting products, but distributing them at school was awkward. Some adults volunteered to take over the program and began the Other Bank. Now operating from the Ferndale Resource Center, we provide all the basic hygiene products to low income families with kids in the Ferndale schools. Currently, 46.45 percent of Ferndale students qualify for free or reduced lunch, thus meeting the criteria for SNAP. The Other Bank is reaching about 75 families a month, representing 350 people.
Volunteer highlights: Thanks to the dedicated efforts of Karen Nipges, we now offer a clothing bank open to all residents of Ferndale. We have a core group of 10 volunteers who help either with clothes or The Other Bank distribution of supplies. Lilian and Bob Huber do the enormous job of shopping to keep our closet stocked. Ferndale High students are still involved by holding supply drives at our local Haggen store several times a year. Sponsored by Coach Richard Brudwick, 20 to 25 students turn out on Saturdays to help. The shoppers are always generous and make a big contribution to what we have to give to others. Many Ferndale residents make frequent gifts of supplies as well.
Signature fundraiser: The most recent supply drive was April 23 at the Ferndale Haggen.
Wish list: Financial donations or supplies such as laundry detergent, sanitary pads, tampons, toothbrushes, diapers sizes 3 to 6, razors, shampoo, dish soap, toothpaste for adults and kids, any products you like to have in your kitchen or bathroom.
Current volunteer needs: Distribution helpers Tuesdays 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Ferndale Resource Center on Vista Drive, next to the city court.
For more information, go online to FerndaleCSC.org.
April was National Volunteer Month and The Bellingham Herald has partnered with the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County to highlight local non-profit agencies that offer opportunities to become involved in our community. For more information online about the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County, go to whatcomvolunteer.org.