Tahmina Martelly, left, of with World Relief, and Dave Mitchell, right, of Kent Sunrise Rotary during a food drive last year. Both were among the 25 individuals honored by the Kent Rotary Club on Feb. 2 for helping to lead food drives during the pandemic. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent Rotary Club

Tahmina Martelly, left, of with World Relief, and Dave Mitchell, right, of Kent Sunrise Rotary during a food drive last year. Both were among the 25 individuals honored by the Kent Rotary Club on Feb. 2 for helping to lead food drives during the pandemic. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent Rotary Club

Kent Rotary honors 25 individuals for pandemic food project

Packaging and delivery of goods to food banks and individuals in need

Twenty-five individuals and organizations who helped collect, package and deliver goods to food banks and individuals in need as a community service project during the pandemic were honored Tuesday, Feb. 2 via Zoom with Rotary Hero awards by the Kent service club.

What started with a call from the Kent Community Foundation to join twice-weekly calls to identify issues and troubleshoot solutions, evolved into Kent Community Partners, a group of Kent nonprofits that came together to help the Kent community during the pandemic, according to a Rotary Club news release. Starting with a focus on food and personal hygiene, the project grew to include utility payments and rental assistance.

Part of the overall project was “Frosty Village,” a nearly full-time effort that collected and delivered 57,000 food boxes to families in need and 3 million pounds of goods to 17 food banks, religious and nonprofit distribution sites around South King County.

Kent Rotary Club President Kate Matos said that although a total of 86 individuals and 53 local organizations contributed time, money and equipment to Frosty Village, the 25 honorees each stood out for their work and truly exemplified the Rotary motto of “Service above Self.”

“When times got tough this past year, these 25 local leaders demonstrated a tireless, can-do attitude,” Matos said. “Their enthusiasm, perseverance, and leadership has been nothing short of inspiring. Kent Rotary Club is proud to have joined this project, and celebrates all the volunteers and community organizations that came together to serve our community.”

Kent Rotary Club will mail or deliver recognition pins and certificates to the recipients.

In recognition of this and Kent Rotary’s ongoing community service, Rotary District 5030 awarded the club a “Rotary Opens Opportunities Award,” as a recognition of outstanding service to the community.

Two Rotarians who were instrumental in Frosty Village, Kim Walley of the Rotary Club of Kent (noon) and David Mitchell of Kent Sunrise Rotary, were recognized by Rotary District 5030 with individual community service awards. The pair did everything from finding and scheduling volunteers for packaging and deliveries to helping enlist and coordinate volunteers and community partners.

“When the program started there were huge fluctuations in what was available,” Mitchell said. “We didn’t know where it would come from or how much was coming.”

The accesso ShoWare Center became a staging and distribution center, as well as a location for parking refrigerated containers needed to store the food. Every week, volunteers unloaded trucks and repackaged food for distribution throughout South King County.

“Many thanks to the city of Kent and accesso Showare Center staff for their flexibility, patience and support,” Matos said. “Frosty Village could not have happened without accesso ShoWare Center.”

“None of us had done anything like this before,” Walley said. “The people we met and were able to help, were so thankful. It was the best experience I’ve ever had in my life.”

Rotary Heroes

George and Sue Adams, Kent Methodist Church; Diana Atanacio, Open Doors for Multicultural Families; Cynthia Boyd, Kent Station; Jeniece Choate, Kent Food Bank; David de la Fuente, Kent Communities in Schools; Brenda Farwell, Kent Community Foundation; Charlene Grinolds, Kent AM Kiwanis; Navid Hamidi, Afghan Health Initiative; Tim Higgins, accesso ShoWare Center; Dave Hobbs, City of Kent; Pat Gray, Kent Methodist Church; Allyson Johnson, Kent Schools Foundation; Tahmina Martelly, World Relief Seattle at Hillside Church; Patricia Metcalf, LARC at Kent.

David Mitchell, Rotary Club of Kent Sunrise; Kim Petz, King of Kings Church Food Bank; Darlene Simpson, St. Stephen the Martyr Church Food Bank; Matt Roark, We Love Kent/Apartment Life; Kim Walley, Rotary Club of Kent; Tye Whitfield, Kingdom Gathering Outreach; Liesl Kershner and Cass Laney, Covington Storehouse; Carpenter Family, Kent Covenant Church; Taffy Johnson, U.T.O.PO.I.A., Seattle; and Barbara Phillips, Community Network Council.

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