Food bank director quits after 15 years

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Halloween brought a Saturday morning shock to volunteers and users of the Sequim Food Bank who discovered a letter of resignation from executive director Nina Fatherson.

Fatherson had been due to return that morning after three weeks’ vacation.

Stephen Rosales, Sequim Food Bank board president, found the letter had been left at the facility, 144 W. Alder St.

Fatherson began her service for the food bank 28 years ago. She had served as executive director for the past 15 years.

In the letter, she mentioned her sadness about resigning and how she had built relationships with local donors to stock the facility.

Dispute with Rosales
Her resignation stemmed from differences with Rosales, she wrote.

“Recently, Stephen Rosales has made mine and my volunteers’ jobs almost impossible and certainly unbearable; to that end, 12 of my longtime volunteers have resigned and now, Bill (Nina’s husband) and I feel we must too.”

Fatherson said her decision had built up over time due to changes in the board and policies that were difficult for her.

Rosales recently pushed and implemented a third day for the food bank and began handing out food in off-hours.

The food bank had been open 9 a.m.-noon Mondays and Fridays but now hours include Saturdays during the winter. Individuals and families now can come three times a month rather than two.

Rosales: ‘So be it’
“If giving out more food is ‘unbearable,’ then so be it,” Rosales said.

Following her resignation, Fatherson said she needs time to rest and absorb what has happened.
“I don’t want to get into this he-said-she-said thing,” Fatherson said.

“I don’t want there to be any more squabbling and negativity.”

She plans to meet with the former volunteers once a month because they’ve worked with her for years.

Fatherson said she’ll miss the people the most. 

“I love them — those who give and take.”

Began in garage
The Sequim Food Bank started in an unheated garage and slowly worked its way to bigger facilities, helping more people as it grew, she said.

“We’ve been really supported well by this community.” 

“I was saddened that this happened,” Rosales said about Fatherson’s resignation.

“She deserved to go out on better terms.”

He said operations Saturday continued as normal.

“Ultimately, it’s not about Stephen and Nina,” he said.

“It’s about the people we help.”

Rosales to fill in
Rosales said he will fill in as director until January while the food bank board redefines the executive director’s duties and then opens the job to applications.

Rosales will not take the monthly pay of $2,700 while he serves as director.

Fatherson said she’s been offered volunteer positions around Sequim but she will wait to make a decision.

“When the dust settles, we hope to have a celebration for her,” Rosales said.

Fatherson was uncertain if she’d accept such an invitation.

“I don’t know,” she said.

“It’d depend on who is giving it.” 

The Sequim Food Bank is open 9 a.m.-noon Monday, Friday and Saturday. For aid, call 683-1205 or 461-6038.


Letter from Nina and Bill Fatherson:

Stephen Rosales and members of the board,
It is with great sadness that Bill and I resign our positions with the Sequim Food Bank.
We have proudly served the community for more than 28 years. I built relationships with the local grocery stores, farmers, churches and service groups in the area in order to build a strong donation base to stock the shelves regularly. I enjoy that strong relationship to this day. I have managed a large group of dedicated volunteers who are just as dedicated to the success of the food bank as I am.
Bill and I used our personal vehicle to pick up donations for 17 years, and I am proud to say, so did my volunteers (in addition to their time).
Recently, Stephen Rosales has made mine and my volunteers’ jobs almost impossible and certainly unbearable; to that end, 12 of my longtime volunteers have resigned and now, Bill and I feel we must too.
Nina and Bill Fatherson


Gazette stories mentioning Nina Fatherson:

Fashionably late published Wed, Jun 24, 2009
The fight against hunger continues with the Sequim Food Bank opening its doors for a third session.

Sequim Food Bank opens doors on Monday evenings this summer published Wed, Jun 3, 2009
Working families who need help getting food on the table just got a boost.

Food bank dedicates sign to founders published Wed, Mar 4, 2009
It's been 27 years since a Sequim couple opened their garage to community food donations and free pick-ups, and a new sign in front of the food bank honors their commitment.

Community helps feed families on Thanksgiving published Wed, Nov 26, 2008

Thanking those who give all year published Wed, Nov 26, 2008

Chamber names Rosales 2007 Citizen of the Year published Wed, Feb 27, 2008

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