Quilcene weekend meals lady named ‘Good Neighbor’ for 2019

Posted 11/6/19

When United Good Neighbors named her as their “Good Neighbor” for 2019, Quilcene resident and Boeing Bluebills member Bonnie Douglass lived up to the praise of her as “humble,” by taking care to share credit for her deeds with others, from her husband Lee to her fellow Bluebills and contributors to children.

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Quilcene weekend meals lady named ‘Good Neighbor’ for 2019

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When United Good Neighbors named her as their “Good Neighbor” for 2019, Quilcene resident and Boeing Bluebills member Bonnie Douglass lived up to the praise of her as “humble,” by taking care to share credit for her deeds with others, from her husband Lee to her fellow Bluebills and contributors to children.

Jefferson County Board of Commissioners Chair Kate Dean introduced Douglass and presented her with a plaque at the Port Townsend Community Center Nov. 2, shortly after UGN Nonprofit Relations Manager Jen Kingfisher and Port Townsend Mayor Deborah Stinson helped kick off United Good Neighbors’ “Give Jefferson” campaign for 2020.

Stinson and Dean noted that the city and county work with “almost every organization you see in this room,” since UGN’s member organizations had informational tables set up in the community center that Saturday, with Dean adding that those organizations serve as “boots on the ground.” She said the city and county can’t serve the enormous needs it faces without those organizations.

Although Douglass also works with Habitat for Humanity of East Jefferson County, as well as with her fellow Bluebills on other community service projects, United Good Neighbors awarded her for her work with the Weekend Nutrition Program, helping to supply meals to children in need in Quilcene and Brinnon.

Kingfisher pointed out that 20 percent of Jefferson County families live below the poverty line, and more than half of Jefferson County school children qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

“What do they do for their meals on weekends or during the summers?” Kingfisher asked.

Dean explained that the Bluebills are already active in supplementing Jefferson County students’ school supplies, before she elaborated on Douglass’ work to serve their nutritional needs as well.

The Boeing Bluebills recognized the need for a Quilcene weekend food program for students, and began the program more than five years ago. Douglas felt strongly enough about serving that unmet need that she volunteered to handle the program, which expanded to Brinnon students the following school year.

Since 2014, Douglass has remained the core volunteer for the program, providing rent-free space in her small embroidery shop in Quilcene to store food and assemble the weekly food kits, while also taking care to ensure the food itself would be nutritious, easy to prepare and non-perishable.

UGN and the Bluebills further commended Douglass for “shopping effectively” to keep the program’s costs low, as well as recruiting and training volunteers to help her out, all well enough to obtain 501(c)(3) status for the Weekend Nutrition Program.

Those same years have also seen Douglass serve South County as the Hood Canal Coordinator for World Vision Supplies, as president of the Quilcene-Brinnon Garden Club, as an active member of the Quilcene Lions Club, and as a Habitat for Humanity volunteer.

Douglass’ workload is currently additionally burdened by guiding the transition of the Weekend Nutrition Program from her embroidery shop to the Quilcene Presbyterian Church.

“And she’s done it all in a humble, quiet manner, under the radar,” Dean said.

“It takes more than just me,” Douglass insisted in response, describing her husband Lee, a fellow Bluebill, as a “big contributor” to the program, while mentioning that Port Townsend and Chimacum have their own weekend meal backpack programs, to serve similar needs.

“When we were still working, we were too busy to volunteer, but we have time now that we’ve both retired, 18 or 20 years ago, back when I was 26 years old,” Douglass joked, before turning serious. “We have to think of our children, because they’re the next generation. We need to feed them, so that they want to come to school. I’ve had bus drivers tell me how tight they hold onto those bags.”

Kingfisher closed the ceremony by urging the public to spread the word about the “Give Jefferson” campaign, so that organizations such as the Weekend Nutrition Program, and others that fall under the UGN umbrella, can receive much-needed support from the community.

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