It was a normal work day here in the office at KFF, as we were getting ready for the next day’s deliveries, when a visitor knocked at our door. When she introduced herself as Marlene Smith, we knew immediately who she was. Marlene is from Pateros, WA, one of the communities in eastern Washington so affected by the devastating forest fires, and is married to Phil Smith, who pastors the Pateros Community Church. That’s the church KFF is partnering with to bring needed funds to the people of Pateros as they rebuild after this recent disaster. Marlene was visiting with her mother who lives here in Warm Beach less than a mile from our office! What a small world. Marlene came by to express her deep appreciation to all of you who are contributing to our Methow Valley Fire Relief Fund.
What stories Marlene had to tell. The Smiths had lost their own home in the fire, but the church, which was right next door, was saved. A young volunteer fighter arrived on the scene and thanks to her efforts and those of three other volunteer fire fighters, they were able to save the church, which sustained some minor damage but still stands. One of those fire fighters happened to be our “own” Bruce Henne, from Earth Conscious Organics (ECO) in Brewster, WA—the people who grow your apples, pluots and cherries. Gratefully, ECO’s orchards were spared in the fire, even though the fire came to the very edge of their apple orchards. We also heard how one of the people in Pateros purchased the old grocery store in town and turned it over to the people coordinating fire relief efforts, so there would be a place for people to come and get help.
As we talked, I told Marlene about a phone call we had from a person who receives deliveries from us. When she heard that we were organizing fire relief efforts, she just had to call. She grew up in Pateros and went to Pateros High School. She was so thankful that funds were being sent to help the people of this community recover from the fire. She too adds her thanks to all of you who are helping.
Connections. That’s what amazes me. The very people we are trying to help way over in Pateros have family just down the road from our office! Bruce Henne, whom we have known for years and talk to every week, was directly involved in fighting the fires there. One of the people we deliver to every week grew up in Pateros. We’re not just sending money to who knows whom and to who knows where. We can put faces to the people we are helping. We’re connected. They’re real people with real needs.
I wish you could have been here to talk with Marlene yourselves. You would have seen the gratitude and appreciation she has for your generosity. You also would have felt the connection. The Smiths have lived in Pateros for nine years now and have come to love and care for the people there. They know the community and its needs first hand. We can be assured that the money being sent there is being put to good use.
Thanks to all of you who are contributing. Any of you can still do so by either going online (select “Giving” on our products page) or by contacting our office to either make a one-time contribution or make a recurring one. Together we can make a difference.
KFF Customer Care