Have you been reading the various articles in the Spokesman about the Wilsonville Food Bank? Wilsonville Community Sharing (WCS) is made up of the food bank and its partner, a community resource and referral center.

These two services are run beautifully by two devoted part-time employees and supported by many volunteers. I am only one of those volunteers and I have donating my time to the food bank just once a month for the past 14 years.

The board of directors is also made up of volunteers who have devoted their time and talents to help guide this charity forward. Unfortunately the recent articles in the Spokesman have made public some concerns regarding the actions of the board of directors, especially the actions of the board chairman, in their quest to find a new location for this charity.

I realize there are two sides to every story and I am hoping that this letter will lead to answers to some of the questions written about in the Spokesman and it will motivate citizens to become involved.

As a volunteer, I am grateful for the space at Frog Pond Church that WCS has been renting for many years but I recognize the need for a new location. I am also grateful for a recent grant that was awarded so a new facility can be built. However, a suitable location needs to be found before this can occur.

In the article printed in the Aug. 14 issue of the Spokesman, “Is the food bank crumbling,” Lori Hall stated that for the past three years WCS has been actively seeking to find a suitable location to build a new facility. She reported that a viable option for this relocation, Valley Christian Church, is no longer an option because of the actions of the board chairman. Ken Warner of Valley Christian had this to say about the negations with the board chair of WCS: “When first presented with the idea, we always felt our premises would be a great site for that community outreach and we still do. However the words and actions of the board chair of WCS make it quite clear that any efforts at negotiating an agreement with WCS will meet with failure.” Warner went on to say that “He portrayed us as having the worst possible motives and has slurred the character of both the pastor and the church leadership.”

Consequently, Valley Christian pulled out of the negotiations and the WCS is now negotiating with Frog Pond Church.

The article in the Spokesman also brought up the fact that the board of directors is only made up of two members (following the recent departure of the other board members) and these two members have ties to Frog Pond Church. If this is the case, how are major decisions being made with just two board members (when their bylaws require a consensus of five members) and is it an ethical conflict of interest when these two board members have ties to Frog Pond Church?

I do not know the answer to what is the best site for the food bank. I do know that the Spokesman article stated that the board had an independent researcher find the answer to that question and Valley Christian was given the No. 1 option and Frog Pond was No. 2.

I do know that Valley Christian is on a convenient bus route and Frog Pond is not. I do know that Valley Christian is centrally located and hence would reach more of our citizens in need and it also has a level of privacy to protect the integrity and safety of our clients.

At the end of this article in the Spokesman, Jay Puppo, a prominent Wilsonville businessman and active participant in WCS, voiced his concerns about the current board of WCS, “I’m very concerned that the reputation of both the church and the organization is going to be damaged. I think that a new board needs to come in and take over the organization.”

WCS serves many citizens and needs the strong, positive leadership of a board of directors to continue to meet the growing needs of our community. If you ever thought you would like to become involved in a worthwhile cause this may be just the right time for you step forward and attend the upcoming board meetings. WCS needs you to lend your support in speaking up or offering your talents in other ways.

Joanne Erb is Wilsonville Community Sharing volunteer and Wilsonville resident.

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