Demand for help continues to exceed supply | Helpline House | April 2

“Spring is sprung, the grass is riz; I wonder where the flowers is?”

That old and ungrammatical childhood rhyme heralds the new season with a question, but we don’t care about the answer, most of us are just happy to see spring here, flowers or not.

Our attentions meander into the brightness of the daffodils in the turnaround, our yards, gardens or planters as we lift our faces into whatever sunny rays we can find. Farmers and gardeners all over the island are readying their beds for planting and preparing for this year’s growth.

At Helpline House you will see herbs planted along the walkway, and the beginnings of the small but prolific garden to the left of the house, which will help to provide fresh vegetables throughout the summer.

Yet, no matter how hard our faithful volunteers work, there is never enough fresh produce to keep the shelves stocked.

We appreciate the produce donated by Town and Country Market, as well as two new projects which have sprung up, pardon the pun. Becky Peddy, Helpline House nutritionist and volunteer gardener, is working with both new projects.

At Rock Farm Pea Patch, a private community garden on land owned by Phil and Anita Rockefeller, there is irrigation, a deer fence, compost, hoses and such, all generously supplied by the Rockefellers.

Two beds are planted for Helpline House and other gardeners using the Pea Patch are encouraged to donate their extra vegetables, too. Helen Burke, parent in charge of community services, has Brownie Troop 46449 working on a Pea Patch at Battle Point Park, for a few weeks, planting early season radishes, spinach, broccoli and raab, which when harvested, will go to our Food Bank.

If this spring finds you looking for fresh ideas, or you are merely spring cleaning, you might wish to consider the following, each of which would help our struggling neighbors.

• As you prepare your own garden, plant an extra row for Helpline House and bring your washed and bagged produce to the Food Bank. It would be greatly appreciated, as each day hungry island families take home all the fresh fruits and vegetables in a full, double-door, commercial refrigerator unit.

• At the Clothing Barn, gently used household items are always needed. Clean bed linens, towels, blankets, kitchen pans, utensils, dishes, small appliances in working order, useable men’s clothing and shoes, children’s sneakers in good condition and coats are what we need the most.

• Milk, eggs, margarine, baby food and formula, cat and dog food, cereal, canned hearty soups, canned vegetables and fruits, toiletries, canned meat, frozen meat, condiments, pasta, noodle, rice, juices, coffee and tea are always welcome and in short supply.

• Generous donors may purchase Community Supported Agriculture subscriptions (CSAs) with either small shares at $200 or larger shares for $300 in early spring and fall to help supplement what we grow. Helpline House also purchases a CSA from Serendipity Farms, run by Chris Lewellyn, a long-time island resident who now farms in Quilcene. The cost to Helpline House is manageable.

If you visit our Web site at www.helplinehouse.org, you may use the “donate” button under the contributions section to purchase a CSA subscription.

Growing vegetables, supplying fresh fruit, donating household items or purchasing a CSA, or cash, are just a few of the myriad ways the Bainbridge Island community stands by its neighbors. Thank you again, one and all.

Garnet Logan is a member of the Board of Directors of Helpline House.

In their own words:

What brought neighbors to Helpline House last month:

Got laid off; need help with groceries in order to pay rent.

Hoping to get some direction in way of job prospect.

Anxiety disorder.

Exiting domestic violence situation; no money; need emotional, psychological support.

Unable to find work; back problem limits amount of work.

Note: 50 percent of inquiries from new households were job related.

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