Food bank angel volunteer of year
Published: October 18, 2006 | 4933rd good news item since 2003
In the last 10 months the Mukilteo Food Bank has served 4,625 people in the Mukilteo School District. But that number is a mere fraction of the families fed in the 25-plus years that Mary Lou Robertson has volunteered with the food bank.
And now she has been honored by the food bank’s directors as Volunteer Of The Year.
Mary Lou Robertson began visiting Mukilteo in 1943, when her parents purchased land and built a cabin here.
“I was a teenager then – we came out every weekend,” she says. “And I thought it was the most terrible place in the world.”
But years later, in 1961, Mary Lou had a change of heart – and circumstances. And Mukilteo has been her home ever since.
After her husband Ted was deployed with the Navy, Mary Lou and her young son Jimmie “moved to be closer to my parents,” she says. (Mary Lou also has a daughter, Mary Kay Bouck, who lives in Utah; her son Jimmie presently lives in Bellingham.)
When Mary Lou got involved with the Mukilteo Presbyterian Church, she began her volunteer work with the food bank as a volunteer at the front desk. As a result she got to know everyone who walked in.
Today she is secretary of the board, and works on Tuesdays. However, the food bank is open from 4 to 5 p.m. the Monday before the second Tuesday of the month, as well as from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month, she says.
The time Mary Lou spends at the food bank helps her realize a basic truth: “We do have a lot of people around here with nothing in their cupboards.”
Today, she says, the food bank is in dire need of supplies – “I’ve never seen the shelves as empty as they are now.”
Things in short supply include canned fruit and meat, juices, boxed dinners, peanut butter and jam, instant potatoes, pudding and Jell-O® mixes, Top Ramon®, soups and chili.
“Cake and frosting mixes are not a necessity, obviously, but they are nice to have,” she says. Other useful products are personal items like soaps, toothbrushes and toothpaste.
“Really and truly, my hope is that one day the food bank won’t be necessary,” says Mary Lou Robertson. But that day is not today.
“The food bank is a necessity,” she says. “I wish it were open longer hours and more often during the week.”
Before that can happen, she adds, more volunteers are needed.