‘Because we all have talent’: Local food bank volunteers use talent to support Lynnwood community

By: Erin Freeman | Lynnwood Times Staff

 It was a busy Wednesday on June 10 at the Lynnwood Food Bank, with cars lined up overflowing out of the lot and onto the road an hour before service even began. Tatiana Giraldo and Soledad Chavez rushed in and out of the food bank, preparing for another day of serving a packed parking lot of Lynnwood families in need of food.

Chavez and Giraldo, and about seven other volunteers spend their Wednesdays selecting, restocking, and preparing food to give away to hand out to the people in the community. 

Both of the volunteers began dedicating time at the Lynnwood Food Bank a month ago when it saw a decrease in volunteers and a substantial increase in clients at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Yet, their community involvement doesn’t stop there, with both of them utilizing their talents and skills to further support volunteer morale and client safety. 

“We are so happy to serve other people”, said Giraldo, handing me a small Ziplock bag containing an orange handmade facemask, detailed with a pattern of turquoise and coral mandalas and a business card bearing the quote “Porque Todas Tenemos un Talento, translating to “because we all have talent.” 

The Mujeres Talentosas, also known as Talented Women, is a group of Latina women who teach a variety of skill workshops to others for personal and professional growth to benefit the entire community.

The group of women began providing sewing lessons to the community, unaware that the impending COVID-19 crisis ahead would turn facemasks into an everyday accessory necessity, a protective measure recommended by health officials. 

Since the onset of the pandemic Giraldo and the Mujeres Talentoasas have donated 30 handmade facemasks directly to the food bank and handed out 200 themselves to Lynnwood residents over Mother’s Day weekend. Giraldo explains that they’re continuing to make more, adding that the day before, on June 9, eight of the group members spent four hours sewing 300 masks. 

“We need to support [the community] at this moment and protect people,” explained Giraldo. “This is our talent we wanted to share.”

Looking for a way to utilize her talents, Chavez donated 80 homemade tamales to her fellow volunteers, wanting to show them that she appreciates the time they dedicate to serving the community. 

With the help of her husband, she spent three hours cooking and assembling the homecooked meals for her fellow volunteers, distributing them during one of the Lynnwood Food Bank’s food distribution days. 

Chavez says that being able to support the community is one of the best things about volunteering at the Lynnwood Food Bank and says that working with and socializing with her fellow volunteers significantly adds to the experience. 

The Lynnwood Food Bank is currently in need of volunteers on Mondays and Tuesdays for food preparation and distribution on Wednesdays and Fridays. Email lynnwoodfoodbank@comcast.net for a volunteer application. 

Erin Freeman

I graduated from Washington State University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a specialization in rhetoric and professional writing. I also received a minor in political science. I joined the Lynnwood Times in February of 2020. To me, community newspapers affirm a sense of community by connecting people through the coverage of local stories and current events.

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