Staci Boehlke gets a front-row seat to holiday giving every year. Staci is the coordinator at the Fruit Valley Elementary School Family Resource Center, which serves one of the lowest income neighborhoods in our hometown of Vancouver, Washington. Each year the resource center works with partners to try to identify and meet basic needs in the community. This year, the greatest need for the community was cash donations that could be used to buy gift cards for gas and food. Both are in particular need in the neighborhood, where a large percentage of students qualify for free or reduced price lunches. Two weeks of no school means those kids will be missing out on two hot meals a day. The resource center collects non-perishable canned and boxed foods, but during the break families often need fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk and other things that aren't easy to keep in a food bank. That's where the gift cards will come in. Gas gift cards will make it easier for some of the families to visit loved ones without having to worry about where the gas money will come from. Cadet has been working with the Fruit Valley Foundation to help meet the community's needs for at least 10 years. "We try to keep them in mind at all times," said Cadet HR Manager Tami Harmon.
Jamie Koenig gets ready to take donated items to Fruit Valley.
Last week we stopped by the school to drop off 34 coats, 5 pairs of shoes and $1,483 in cash, which included $741.50 donated directly by our employees and matching funds from Cadet. Staci said donations from people and companies in the community make a big difference to many of the residents she works with. "It's not about what you give them, it's about the fact that someone cares enough to give (something)," she said.