North Helpline History
In 1989, North Helpline began as Emergency Services in response to the overwhelming amount of people in need that local churches regularly saw at their pantries. These churches were among North Helpline’s first supporters, referring clients and helping the organization get off the ground financially. A group from the local telephone company, the Telephone Pioneers, was also incredibly supportive to the young North Helpline including Louise Mannell who served as coordinator, and later would be interim director.
Determined to meet the needs of the community in a more efficient way, and inspired by the Queen Anne Helpline, the eight or so volunteers trained each other in how to provide emergency services counseling with help from the Queen Anne Helpline. The Emergency Services group at that time was able to provide financial assistance with utility shut off and eviction prevention. Emergency feeding bags were also available from the Emergency Feeding Program, but they often ran out. As time went on the volunteers added additional items for clients as they received more varied donations, including knit hats and gloves, and a limited amount of diapers and formula through the creation of the Baby Cupboard program.
In 2001 the Food Bank was added, and in 2010 we moved locations in Lake City to a brand new facility. In 2017, North Helpline took over operations of its second food bank in Bitter Lake. The North Helpline of today remains volunteer-driven.