Lynn Kiser has been helping the Harbor almost as long as she’s lived here. She and her husband of 50 years, Fred, moved to Montesano in 1971. They have two daughters, Kathleen, of Montesano, and Karolyn, of New Jersey. She started helping out at the Montesano Food Bank and in 1991 became the director. While Harborites’ generosity in the holiday season can be remarkable, Kiser and her dedicated core of about 15 volunteers see the need for a little extra help continue all year through.
How did you get involved with the Montesano Food Bank and how long have you been helping out there?
I began volunteering around 1976 when one of my bridge partners was the director and needed help. When she moved she asked me to be the new director, that was in Jan 1991.
Has there been anything that has surprised you since you started volunteering?
When I first became director we may have had six to nine families in a month, but now we have about 135 a month. Out of these they may be working families but still need extra help.
What kind of people you typically see at the food bank?
We see ordinary people.
Are there any misconceptions people have about the food bank and who needs it?
We do not know what goes on behind the clients’ closed door and some people will be judgmental about who are using the food bank. We try to make it a friendly, welcoming atmosphere for clients.
After the holiday season, does the level of donations you see remain fairly steady through the year?
Donations are sporadic, either in food and cash. Some months are better than others. When the Food Bowl competitions between schools happen, donations are exceptional and all local food banks win.
What types of things does the food bank usually need?
We try to give out basic foods that would make nutritious meals, such as canned fruit, vegetables and tuna, pasta, rice, oatmeal, dried beans, peanut butter and dried milk is always good.
How can people make donations?
For cash donations they can mail them to 616 W Simpson, Montesano, WA 98563, or call me at 249-4163. If you have items to donate, you can drop them off at 213 W Spruce, on Fridays between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. During the fall harvest of local gardens, our clients enjoy receiving fresh produce.