Help House says demand has decreased

North Whidbey Help House is doing well despite the COVID-19 health crisis, according to Executive Director Jean Wieman.

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, visited the Oak Harbor food bank on Wednesday to see how the nonprofit organization was faring during the economic hardship.

Even though the Help House sent home its volunteers in April and staff members are working shorter hours, the food bank is settling in to the social-distancing, mask-wearing atmosphere. Yet Wieman explained to the congressman that the nonprofit has seen a reduction in the number of people using its services.

“The fear is still there,” she said, adding that federal benefits may be another reason fewer people are using the food bank.

While donations are continuing to roll in, Wieman said she is unsure of what the future will look like.

Pig Fest, one of the Help House’s major sources of donations, is normally held in August but has been cancelled because of COVID-19. Pig Fest organizers are asking the community to continue supporting the Help House and that all donations will go to the Help House.

“We’ve built up trust that when we say we’re desperate people know we really mean it,” said Beth Munns, a board member for Help House and Oak Harbor City Council mayor pro-tem.

Wieman said the Help House currently is in need of supplies, such as pasta and canned foods such as, for example, Vienna sausages.

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