Submitted by YWCA Olympia
YWCA Olympia and the Thurston County Food Bank announced that they are partnering in order to make hygiene items, distributed through the YWCA Other Bank, more accessible for members of the community. Specifically, the Thurston County Food Bank will acquire The Other Bank in July 2019 and will take over the ongoing operations and delivery of this vital community service.
After this transition, hygiene products will be distributed only at Thurston County Food Bank locations during service days and at times as indicated by The Thurston County Food Bank and will no longer be available at YWCA Olympia. However, the YWCA will continue to partner with and work alongside The Thurston County Food Bank in order to support this transition in a way that is smooth, successful, and beneficial for the entire community.
Since 1985 YWCA Olympia has been proud to operate The Other Bank and distribute free full-sized personal hygiene and household cleaning products to more than 13,000 low-income individuals each year. Available items include soap, toilet paper, menstrual products, shampoo, deodorant, laundry detergent, dish soap, toothpaste, diapers and more. YWCA has also provided a telephone order service for homebound and senior individuals who are unable to utilize the Other Bank during normal distribution hours, and have partnered with Thurston County Food Bank’s FORKids backpack program and countless social service agencies in Thurston County by providing hygiene kits comprised of travel size toiletries.
“It has been an honor for YWCA Olympia to support our community through The Other Bank and it is indeed a legacy that we are proud of” says YWCA CEO Hillary Detamore. “While change is not always easy, this is a tremendous opportunity for YWCA Olympia. With a long national and local history of social justice and educational programs for individuals impacted by the intersections of racism and sexism, we see this transition as an opportunity to further focus and refine our scope of services in alignment with our mission. This change will enable us to expand our commitment to community education, leadership development and advocacy. YWCA Olympia is thrilled about this transition. Programs such as Girls Without Limits!, the Youth Action Board, Youth Council, the Economic Empowerment Program, and Intercultural Foundations will continue and will ultimately be strengthened by this change. Our focus will continue to be working to dismantle racism, sexism and other forms of oppression.”
Transition of the Other Bank to the Food Bank is significant in numerous ways:
- Having hygiene items available at the Food Bank will limit the need for individuals and families to navigate two different locations and agencies in order to access the essential food and hygiene items they need.
- The Food Bank intends to expand this service throughout its network, increasing the number of locations in our community where these products will be available.
- The Food Bank will have access to a larger quantity of hygiene products than was possible for YWCA.
The last day of Other Bank service at YWCA will be Wednesday, June 26. Until then, Other Bank service will continue as usual and donations of hygiene products should still be brought directly to YWCA Olympia. Starting July 1, hygiene item donations should be made directly to the Food Bank. Any hygiene products remaining at YWCA after June 26 will be transferred to the Food Bank so that any and all donations of hygiene items will be distributed in alignment with the intention of the donation.
Both agencies will keep the community updated via social media, websites and print communications.
According to Robert Coit, Food Bank Executive Director, “The Thurston County Food Bank considers the Other Bank as a best practice. In fact, many food banks throughout the state offer personal hygiene products complimenting traditional food distribution. It is the intent of the Food Bank to operate The Other Bank with the same basic structure and honor the long history of the program. It is our intent to expand this service throughout our network but also to scale the program up as new resources become available. The Thurston County Food Bank is looking forward to providing additional services to meet our community’s needs.”
YWCA Olympia will hold two Community Open Houses to address any questions community members may have. These will take place at the YWCA (220 Union Ave SE, Olympia) on Sunday, April 7 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and Thursday, May 2 from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Contact YWCA at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.