Originally published in The Weekly Packet, January 29, 2015

Article and photos by Tevlin Schuetz


All were smiles on Wednesday morning, January 21, at TradeWinds Market Place, as representatives of the Tree of Life food pantry accepted a donation of money from TradeWinds owners Chuck and Belinda Lawrence.

The funds totaled $20,213 and were composed of store patrons’ contributions—garnered during TradeWinds’ holiday fundraiser—matched dollar-for-dollar by the Lawrences.

The Lawrences were joined on January 21 by TradeWinds Manager Bonnie Tokas and TOL outgoing President Rick Traub and incoming President Judi Hilliker, food pantry Manager Deb Case, TOL board member Betsy Bott and Turn-Style Manager Gene Grindle.

The occasion not only commemorated this season’s donation, but it also further cements a relationship between the two neighbors on South Street; the Lawrences have similarly matched TradeWinds’ customers’ donations to TOL for the past several years, according to a press release from TOL.

As Traub stated, “We are astounded by the large amount of this gift and want to thank all of the shoppers who donated as well as the Lawrences.”

TOL can use the funds. The number of families visiting the pantry is up, and Traub stated that 21 new families came in for food two weeks ago. This is a notable jump, versus the average of five new families visiting the pantry each week in 2014.

According to a document shared by TOL—called the “State of the Tree Report”—the total number of family visits to the pantry in 2014 came to 10,904, representing a 6 percent increase over that total in 2013.

TOL has grown its operation to meet the needs of Peninsula residents since its founding 26 years ago.

Turn-Style thrift shop sales accounted for 58 percent of the money raised for food in 2014, and TOL continues to broaden its local supplier base for organic produce, to augment the thousands of pounds of produce it receives from Good Shepherd Food Bank.

For more information or to make a donation call the food pantry at 374-2900 or the thrift shop at 374-9181.