Dear Friends, Our MarchKindness Day 2 feature was a video about Dawn Stanchfield, owner of Lily Atelier, who does a lot for Camas Lacrosse teams.
Vancouver, WA — Cherish DesRochers-Vafeados and Jamie Spinelli work on a shoestring budget each week to help dozens of homeless people get the nutrition they need and get access to a warm shower.
Cherish is the president of the non-profit, Food With Friends, and its off-shoot organization, Shower Outreach Project, and works very closely with Jamie to find the funds and provide help to people in transition with their lives.
”We started doing street outreach,” said Cherish. “We knew where people needed help so we went straight to them. This was a few years ago. Now every weekend we hand out food to people who desperately need it.”
She said they work closely with Living Hope Church, Friends of the Carpenter and the Shared Day Center to meet people and provide food bags to the downtrodden. Donations come from various businesses, such as Little Ceasar’s Pizza, who provide pizzas, and individuals who want to help out.
They also drive a shower trailer Friday through Sunday. Each Friday, they stop the shower trailer at the Friends of the Carpenter non-profit. On Saturdays, from noon to 3 pm, they stop at the Shared Day Center, and on Sunday they stop at the Living Hope Church, from noon to 4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has also helped out.
”We provide the shower trailer, the propane to heat the water, and the organizations provide the water,” said Cherish. “We serve about 75 people each week, and it’s great to help people. One man hadn’t showered in 35 days, now he gets to shower at least once a week. It makes people feel better.”
Cherish said a local organization once provided free shower wasn’t able to continue, so they decided to fill the gap.
Friends With Food purchased the trailer last year for $15,000 (at cost) from a man in Portland.
”We held a fundraiser and overnight we received $18,000 in donations,” said Cherish. “It was enough to pay for the shower trailer, so we were thrilled.”
Friends With Food/Shower Outreach Project is still working on logistics and seek help with a hauling vehicle for the shower trailer.
”We’re still figuring out the process,” said Cherish. “Thomas Eaton hauls the trailer for us. We’re grateful for his help.”
Friends served about 20 people per day with food and other counseling services, and recently received an inquiry from the Vancouver School District about reaching out to students who don’t have running water or electricity. They are also trying to get socks and underwear donated. Recently, a donor provided 1,200 pairs of socks.
“A lot of these people are waiting for housing to become available,” said Cherish. “They’re in transition, and we’re trying to help out.”
To contact Friends With Food, email: [email protected] or call them at 360.723.5791. You can also find them on Facebook @FoodWithFriendsWA