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Review by Ranee A.2 years ago
To start this is a traditional food bank run by local volunteers. A couple paid positions but not many. Food is beyond expired and perishables are very much beyond manager special mark downs. It's a great place to go if you need a job reference, a place to volunteer, a place to work off volunteer hours or for just a little socialization. Staff is kind, caring and wonderful to deal with. They generally work with your availability though it is not always guaranteed. It is recommended to stay the full four hour shift though you don't have to. Due to the nature of their clientele they are some what selective of their volunteers and they do clean house if one isn't working.
To become a client it is easy but you must pass their prequalifying check list. You're put on a waiting list and when it's your time you're in. The lower income you are and no home bumps you up high on the list. They shuffle their client house frequently and are very particular about who they allow in. Clients generally socialize outside for hours before they open. Wonderful people. Kind people that love to socialize. You'll learn a lot.
To become a volunteer is easy. Apply online or just show up and ask. They'll set you up and you'll go through the waiting process. Due to the nature of their clientele they do a background check. If you pass you're in.
I tried volunteering here for a year and found the first few months to be okay. I often found my self sorting cloths and quickly found to wear old cloths as it's like jumping into a dirty cloths basket. The odors will just permeate your good cloths. They'll never be the same after that. Cut my self gently on a few sharp objects because donations are not wrapped with care. I quickly found that you only wanted to bring a driver's license and a phone and keep it all in your pockets. As there are no lockers or safe place to leave your items. Clients often wonder into staff areas and start poking around in personal items. So I quickly learned pockets and no more than $10 on you. I thank God I had my wallet on me that day. I tried to volunteer for other departments but found volunteers that do these positions daily do not like extra help or end up doing the work for you. I often found my self ending up in the clothing department for every shift. Even though I signed up for another location. After a while I felt like extra luggage and my contributions were not needed.
This place has so many volunteers they do not coordinate well when they have too many. I was all too often told "Don't show up we have too many volunteers." or "We don't need you today don't bother showing up." Which is a shame I was starting to enjoy volunteering here. This started about month four with them. I work retail so I had to request the day off for the volunteer shift. So not only did I get reduced hours for the week for the request off I got no volunteer shift. After the fourth time this happened I decided to cease my volunteer needs with this company. Not only does requesting a day off in retail penalize your hours it reduces them. A 40 hour work week quickly becomes a 30 hour work week. This experience sure doesn't want me to set time aside to assist others now.
Through gossip they found I was earning decent money. "Upper middle class" and that some how classified me differently. Shortly after that the department I signed up for starting calling me and told me not to show up. This just didn't happen once. It happened several times. This was around month eight. If you don't want me to volunteer any more "Just say we don't' like you stop showing up." (Which would be a sueable offence.) Rather than playing these little beat around the bush games and hope I stop showing up.
Gossip is another thing I would like to bring up. People love to talk and talk and talk here. Which leads to gossip. Gossip can lead to favoritism and I noticed there is a touch of favoritism here. I noticed certain staff got more privileges than others and always got to work where they desired. Volunteers without favoritism always got stuck in the clothing room. Some times rumors would start and it would take for ever to get them to stop. Even though half the time they were miss information and false.
I posted a similar review on Google Maps but later deleted it for politeness. I tried to do a couple money donations to them but it was a "challenge". First donation went through no problem. Second donation okay. Third donation they called me and told me the bank blocked it. I called the bank the bank told me it's their end. Called them again and told them the bank said it was their end. They wrote down my number twice and still couldn't get the donation to go through. I filled out the donation form again and they still couldn't get it to go through. Called the bank and they said it was the food bank side. After a while I just gave up and this would be the end of my story with them.
Please do volunteer here and give it a try. I later went to Northwest Harvest and found volunteering with them to be much more pleasant. Just wish you could do more than one day a week.
(This volunteer experience occurred in 2016.)
Add on 1/2019
In 2018 I tried every few months to make donations. This was in summer time. I would start stockpiling bags of extra items I didn't need. I would take them in every few months. Only to find no attendant was present or you had to knock on the door several times before someone answered. This was on an open business day. A couple of individuals were rather unhappy to receive my items. They looked at my items like they were tossed away garbage I didn't want and gave the expression "Oh, let me take them over here." with her hands barely touching the bags like they were disgusting. These items were bran new still wrapped in their original packaging. The bags were bran new paper grocery bags neatly organized. Not one ounce of dirt or grime on them. The items in them were from combo packs or buy two get one free. They would get the free. They I tried donating twice and this happened both times. Sorry but I will not be donating here, supporting this location nor recommending it. When volunteering here I noticed this place survives by the extra junk Issaquah doesn't need.
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