The Cove in Twisp will celebrate 25 years of serving the food security needs of Methow Valley communities on Thursday, April 20, starting at 1 p.m.
The Cove, established on March 11, 1998, is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to providing for food security and relief from poverty for valley residents.
Executive Director Glenn Schmekel, who has been around since the organization’s inception, served as a volunteer executive director during the first years. He has, over the years, assembled a crew of volunteers and limited paid staff, and has built the nonprofit from a small, rented closet-sized storefront in Twisp’s downtown business district to a significant community-invested service organization.
The volunteer roster for The Cove’s Food Bank now stands at about 40 members, while special projects like the annual Christmastime initiatives Manger Mall and Neighbors Helping Neighbors Holiday Meal Drive enlist about 100 additional community members, according to a press release. The Friday Food backpack program, in partnership with the Methow Valley School District, has a regular crew of about 10 volunteers.
Providing food and financial support at a time of need is a big part of The Cove’s mission. However, others find fulfillment in serving The Cove and its outreach.
“I moved here to join my family’s firefighting company years ago,” said Neal Reynaud, a regular Cove volunteer for most of the past 25 years. “I had to find something to fill a bunch of free time and started volunteering at the old building. I wasn’t much for volunteering for stuff, but The Cove has demonstrated how I need to volunteer. It fills me up.”
Schmekel, who retired from teaching elementary school in 1997, has been driven by the food security needs of the community since his early days of retirement.
“Scripture says that when you do these things to the least of these, you do these things of me,” says Schmekel, quoting Matthew 25:40. “So that is what we do. We bless people with a bag of food each week, lunch if they want it, and some kind words.”
The Food Bank is open for food distribution from 1-4 p.m. every Thursday except Thanksgiving Day.
Donations of food and money are always welcome and can be dropped off at The Cove any time on Thursdays. Financial contributions can also be made securely online at thecovecares.com.