- ABOUT US -
The Coalition had its beginnings during the Reagan years, (1981-1989) when large blocks of cheese were made available from the government to community agencies serving low income people. Gilbert and Janette Saparto were guiding the Volunteers of America in Everett. Bertha Patapoff served as the Everett Food Bank Director, which began in a closet of the VOA building, giving out one jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread to those lined up on the sidewalk for food.
Bertha contacted Jeannie Ovenell from the Stanwood/Camino Island food bank and Joan Mulligan from Marysville FB along with Rev. Gibson from Mountlake Terrace FB, Peg Kennedy from Edmonds FB and Fran Walster from Maltby FB, inviting them to come together to form a Coalition to receive the cheese blocks for the County and distribute them and other commodities through various food banks. Other early Coalition food banks include Arlington, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Mukilteo, Snohomish, and Betty Mastrude, Granite Falls. Statistics were very important and were collected every month on a single report sheet –all done by hand. Food bank proportions were determined by the number of clients served.
The Coalition met at different food banks on the first Monday of each month, after an organizing meeting at the Red Cross offices, 23rd and Lombard, in 1984.
When Bertha retired, her son, Rev. Jim Brown, employed by VOA, was elected President of the Coalition, 1987-1997. The Coalition was growing to include some 19 food banks in communities throughout the County. The VOA became the Lead Agency and Distribution Center for the County, receiving various government and community funds and food items for distribution to the various food banks for low income people.
Virginia Sprague joined VOA in 1995 as Food Bank Director for the Everett and Greenwood food banks. She became President of the Coalition in 1997, serving until 2005.
Bill Humphreys, a VOA employee, succeeded Virginia as President of the Coalition until 2011.
Neil Watkins of the Sky Valley Food Bank/Monroe was elected President of the Coalition in 2011 through 2014. As of July 2013, the Coalition consists of 20 food banks throughout the County.