A 2013 graduate of Edmonds-Woodway High School and the co-founder of the Edmonds Food Bank were honored by United Way of Snohomish County earlier this week for their work in the community.
At a breakfast event on Wednesday, Sept. 25, more than 600 people joined United Way of Snohomish County to present Spirit of Snohomish County Awards to individuals and organizations “who help improve people’s lives, work for the betterment of our community and inspire others to serve.” Local honorees were Tori Ly and Peggy Kennedy of Edmonds and Chris Kelly of Lynnwood.
“Tori, Peggy and Chris are tremendous assets to our community,” said Dr. Dennis G. Smith, president and CEO of United Way of Snohomish County. “I am so proud of the work they’ve done.”
Ly, who graduated from Edmonds-Woodway High School this year, and started classes at the University of Washington on the same day as the Awards Breakfast, won the Spirit of Snohomish County Youth Award in part for her work on United Way’s Kids Matter Vision Council, where she helped review grant applications. Her parents, Chau Ly and Yen Truong accepted the award on her behalf.
“After being exposed to volunteerism so early in my life, it’s become a part of me, and will stay part of me as I grow up,” she said before the event.
Kennedy of Edmonds co-founded the Edmonds Food Bank over 30 years ago, and at the time served 34 families each week. Today, it serves an astonishing 500 families weekly, and is still growing. Peggy’s team of over 100 volunteers keeps the food bank operating while remaining strongly devoted to their mission, and to Peggy. Her dedication to the food bank has made a difference in the lives of many families over the years.
Kelly, a postal worker in Lynnwood, won the Spirit of Labor Award for her work on the annual Letter Carriers Food Drive – the largest one-day food collection event in Snohomish County. For the past 10 years, Chris Kelly has been the driving force behind this hugely successful event. This year’s Letter Carriers Food Drive brought in 277,263 pounds of food and, in a contest of the National Association of Letter Carriers, garnered second place for the local letter carriers union in their division. Chris’ leadership and support helped make this happen.
Nominations are submitted in June and reviewed by teams of volunteers. The only award determined by United Way staff is the Reeves/Sievers’ Founders Award, which is similar to a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Caren Skube, who recently retired from 36 years with The Boeing Company – most recently with the Global Corporate Citizenship group and liaison to the Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound – received special recognition for her years of service to the community .
Dr. Donna Beegle offered a keynote address focusing on intergenerational poverty and shared her own experience of growing up poor and having to negotiate between what seemed like different worlds. On Thursday, Sept. 26 she led a day-long workshop called Poverty 101.