Submitted by the Orcas Food Bank
An era is ending. After 14 years as manager of the Orcas Island Food Bank, Jeannie Doty will officially turn over the reins to its new manager, Amanda Sparks, on May 31. Her loving dedication to the Food Bank and the Orcas community has set the highest standard for selfless service.
As a long-time resident of Orcas Island, Jeannie understood her community and knew her clients. Her compassion and ability to make them feel welcome and valued was humbling. She recognized individual needs and soothed anxious souls. She molded a volunteer team that made the Food Bank a friendly place with a lot of laughter.
During her tenure, Jeannie helped the Food Bank move into its current location on Madrona St., handled too many holiday turkey distributions to count, and created friendships with our local market, restaurants, and farms. She welcomed kids from the Christian School and Salmonberry when they came wheeling wagons full of food down the street to present them at the Food Bank door. She faithfully served on the Board as well, reporting on client needs and suggesting the best ways to serve them.
The Food Bank has been Jeannie’s passion for the past 14 years. It was a rare day that she didn’t stop in to see what needed doing. The results of her dedication were clear. Clients and visitors commented on what a wonderful variety of foods she gathered. Even the Food Bank’s government monitor noted that “The Orcas Island Food Bank is one of the best in our region.”
As the COVID-19 crisis unfolded, client numbers tripled and massive changes occurred in Food Bank operations, resulting in a whole new system of packaging, distribution, and recordkeeping. Jeannie helped guide the changes from the safety of her home. Once the dust settled a bit, she began training Amanda in the many details of sourcing, storing, and distributing food and managing the overall operation. She reports that Amanda is “amazing!”
Jeannie will be more than missed. But we expect to still see her around when times get more normal—only then it will be because it’s just in her blood to help. Happy retirement Jeannie!