BAKING FOR A CAUSE – OCTOBER 1
Author: Claire Hurd
Spokane transplant and Feed365 donor, Eileen May, recently sat down with us and shared a little about her passion to feed people in in her community. Feed365 is our monthly giving program intended to create a reliable source of funding year-round to help provide healthy, fresh meals for seniors, children and families facing hunger in our community. But Eileen is a special Feed365 donor. As a small business owner with a big heart, Eileen has chosen to donate all of her profits to Feed365 as a “passion project”.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
A: My husband (Chris) and I moved here in November of 2019. Our 3 daughters all attended Gonzaga so we had been visiting them for about 5 years and they decided to stay here. And my husband was retired from the fire station, and I was kind of ready to retire as well and we decided to chase the kids here (laughs). But it’s been great. We came from Lake Tahoe/Incline Village, Nevada which is on the north shore, raised the kids there, lived there for about 30 years and then we transplanted to Spokane.
Q: How does wanting to feed people translate into being “Mama May” cookie baker?
A: (laughs) Well it is an interesting story, when we were in Incline, there was just a lot of interest we had in wanting to help and you can only do so much sometimes. You know, we had 3 kids that were headed to college and um all at the same time I might add, so our wish list was long, and I had to figure out a way to support that. And I was sending these cookies to my daughter, my oldest daughter, at school (Gonzaga University). And realized that her friends were really interested in them, really liked them, and one time they said to me “you know, you really should sell these”. And so, I said to my husband, “you know, I think I’m gonna start a little business. And the mission is going to be the way that I’m going to fund the philanthropy that we want to do.” And we just sort of always focused on food.
I love food around the table, I think that having good conversation and good relationships around the table helps get problems solved. So, feeding people has always been a passion of mine and Mama May cookies was born as a way to support that passion. Actually 100% of my proceeds do go back into the community.
Q: How did you hear about Second Harvest?
A: Well, I’ve always sort of… feeding people has sort of always been my thing, and so I just, when I was figuring out where I wanted to volunteer, where I wanted to um donate, I kind of knew what I wanted to do so I just found out what the local food bank does and kind of went that way.
Q: What made you want to start giving through the Feed365 program?
A: It was Anna (Bresnahan, Second Harvest Philanthropy Manager). She reached out to me to thank me for the original, the initial donation and um I just sort of talked to her about my passion to feed people and she is the one that told me about it, and you know, I talked to Chris and said, “You know, I’d really like to just get us on a monthly donation.” And he was all for it so that’s what we did.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of Second Harvest?
A: I just really appreciate that they understand hunger is an everyday thing. It’s not just a holiday event, or it’s not just a seasonal thing but it’s constant. I think that was another thing I recognized in Incline was I noticed that hunger came in all walks of life and um sometimes people were… I don’t want to say “ashamed”, but they just wouldn’t reach out and I feel like Second Harvest tries to just remove that stigma of somehow, it’s your fault, they just understand it is what it is, and they are just willing to serve anybody. And that’s kind of my mission as well.
Q: What would you say to someone who is interested in donating to Second Harvest through the Feed365 program?
A: I would tell them that um any amount counts and matters, makes a difference, that you can always stretch yourself a little bit you know, not every small business is in a position to give 100% of their profit. And this is a very unique passion project of mine. I think that it’s easier to be give than you think it is. I think, you know, a lot of times people think, “Well I can’t”. But you really can. You don’t miss that extra $25, $50, $100 a month or whatever amount it is. You learn to adjust, and you know that you are really making a difference.
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Eileen. Generous families such as yours make it possible to make real change in our community.