2022 ANNUAL REPORT
A YEAR OF RESILIENCE
After recovering from the immediate crisis of COVID-19, the world is slowly returning to pre-pandemic life. And while the challenges are far from over, our programs and clients have found ways to triumph, even in uncertainty.
In 2022, the food bank doors remained open in the face of economic instability and reduced buying power. Afghan and Ukrainian refugees fleeing conflict and persecution found safety and solace through our resettlement program. Parents returning to work filled the gaps in basic needs at our Community Resource Centers. And adults with intellectual disabilities are finding supported employment at the thrift store in Sultan.
Stories of resilience echoed throughout VOAWW in 2022.
MAKING AN IMPACT
We distributed 6.1M pounds of food to over 163,000 neighbors across Snohomish County in partnership with local food banks and meal sites.
WHY WE GIVE
Themes of charity, kindness, and service are universal, but we asked local philanthropists their reasons for giving to VOAWW. Their answers are as varied as the services we provide. Some rely on their faith as a direction for investing in the wellness and care of others. Some say trust in knowing their donation will be maximized encourages them to give time and again. And yet others say the impact that our organization makes across Puget Sound and Washington State is why they designate VOAWW as their charity of choice.
We strongly believe in performing acts of mercy, several of which are nicely given in [Matthew 25:21-46] For [my wife] and me, that means we should help people who need assistance with food, clothing, and shelter. Another belief of ours is that although we worked hard and were financially prudent, the money we have is not really our money. God blessed us to have it. Deep down, we believe it's actually God's money. He has allowed us to have it and to be stewards of it, and we will be accountable for how we use it.
When people are giving, they want to make sure that money is going directly to the source and maximized to its fullest potential... There’s overarching support for areas of need, whether it’s food on your table or education or helping people find housing. And we know the donations stay in our own backyard.
We give thanks for the partnership and community outreach of Volunteers of America. We have been delighted to be an ally with them as they advocate for those who don’t have enough. In Luke’s gospel, Jesus bids his disciples to “feed them.” Suddenly five loaves and two fishes are enough to feed 5,000 hungry Galileans! It seems good to us to participate in the same kind of divine wonder here in our own time in our own neighborhood. VOA is the best way we know to share that in a way that blesses those most vulnerable."
We love partnering with VOA because its obviously a very recognizable charity... and when people are giving, they want to make sure that money is going to be maximized to its fullest potential. And with a organization like VOA, I think it ensures that confidence.
[Our giving] is a collaboration between our staff and our clients... so, it’s important that we are aligned with an organization they can trust.
Heartache to Hope
Heartache seemed to be a constant companion for Colleen.
In high school, she suffered a concussion that went untreated. Its effects visited her in adulthood as a seizure disorder and a diagnosis of traumatic brain injury (TBI). A friendship with a coworker and roommate dissolved into abuse, transforming her home into a battleground. Life got tougher in May 2019 when her roommate abandoned the apartment without warning, leaving Colleen to pay rent she couldn’t afford alone. Eviction quickly followed.
She and her 9-year-old son Jackson found a safe haven with friends in Seattle. In October, a seizure-induced fall on the bus left Colleen with five broken facial bones. Days later, feeling crowded, her friends asked the pair to leave. “You learn in your lowest moments who you can count on and who loves you.”
She couch surfed, helped her sister with childcare, moved to Eastern Washington to live with her mom. Winter turned to spring. COVID swept through the country.
A lack of adequate remote learning resources for Jackson forced them back to the west side of the Cascades. “Help was hard to find because we didn’t have stability,” and living with disabling seizures meant Colleen’s outlook for finding work was grim. Hopelessness and TBI triggered a battle with depression. And one year after her fall injury, living in a broken-down vehicle with only a small space heater to keep warm, Colleen was out of options. She called North Sound 2-1-1, and referral specialists put in a call to Maud’s House on Monday. By Friday, she and Jackson were sleeping in beds.
A rocky start in the house learning to live with other moms and children taught her “... a lot about patience and challenging your own judgments,” she remembers. ”Now I have a better understanding for others. I learned… compassion.”
Maud’s House Program Manager Natasha Lindsay took time to learn about Colleen’s struggles, to help light a path forward. The first step was to locate a therapist and address past trauma. Next, Colleen was connected to a housing navigator that found local assistance. Assuming multiple diagnoses meant a disability placement that comes with limits, Colleen was shocked to find out it was a permanent placement, giving her freedom to start making her own choices and mapping out her future.
Today, she has a small place of her own, continuing therapy and working on a course in data analysis. As a lover of puzzles and statistics, and needing to sit for work, it’s the perfect downshift from her old life and the fast pace of being a phlebotomist on her feet all day.
As for Jackson, he can safely walk to school and back home. His own home. Still, Colleen knows, it’s been difficult. “Kids are resilient, yes, but they are also affected. Jackson has anxiety and ADHD. He doesn’t always connect with other kids.” But with an established routine and stable housing, she can focus on helping Jackson, now 12, find his own path to healing. “Last night was the first night in two years – two years – my son slept through the night.”
Heartache has turned to hope.
Program & Other | $1,296,757
Private Support | $3,001,517
(Individuals, Corporations, Organizations & Foundations)
In-Kind | $13,487,615
Public Support | $98,941,795
(Government Contracts & Grants)
Programs & Services | $104,979,896
• Encouraging Positive Development $3,335,300
• Fostering Independence $12,550,146
• Promoting Self-Sufficiency $104,979,896
Management & General | $6,193,110
Fundraising | $755,495
Financial data in this report are preliminary and subject to change upon audit. More detailed financial reporting available upon request.
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