Organizations band together to help families in need


Three organizations based in Ridgefield have worked to help families as they face the rising cost of inflation and a reduction of some federal services.

The organizations are now looking for some help of their own since they are in need of more donations to continue their mission.

The Ridgefield Family Resource Center provides food, clothing and household items to students and their families in the Ridgefield School District.

The center, along with Compassion360 and Neighbors Helping Neighbors, work together for one simple goal: to help community members and families who need some extra support.

On March 1, the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP, ended pandemic-related allotments. It cut benefits by an average of $171 per month, impacting over 520,000 households statewide, according to a newsletter from the Ridgefield School District.

“All three of us (Ridgefield Family Resource Center, Compassion360 and Neighbors Helping Neighbors) are reliant on community donations,” Christine Poppert, with the resource center, said. “As we are reliant on those community donations, we just need that flow to continue to happen at all three sites.”

With the lack of housing resources, Poppert said their goal is to keep people in their homes. The high costs of rent, keeping up with mortgage payments on a low income and the increased costs at the grocery stores have affected a variety of people. Providing free food, clothing and home necessities like cleaning supplies helps the individuals who utilize the organizations so they can focus on paying their bills, organizers said.

Wendy Lehner, the director of Compassion360, said they serve Ridgefield, La Center and Woodland. The organization, located at 747 Pioneer St. in Ridgefield, provides food, clothing, and fulfills special requests for individuals in need.

“We service about 120 people a week in our food closet and clothes closets,” Lehner said. “We are also dependent on private donations.”

Poppert said Compassion360 brought the Ridgefield Family Resource Center to fruition. Compassion360 has now been able to focus on providing services to families with children that are not old enough to go to school as well as senior citizens in need.

The organization has a weekly resource share from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursdays at the back entrance of the Ridgefield Church of the Nazarene. From 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, April 14, Compassion360 will host a free clothing share and exchange in the church’s gym for anyone who needs it.

Pam Bong, with Neighbors Helping Neighbors, said they serve La Center, Ridgefield, Salmon Creek and Felida. During the COVID pandemic, the organization’s reach expanded from Cougar in the Yale Lake area down to Oregon to help individuals in need.. Although individuals outside of Washington are not eligible for state provided commodities, they can receive donated goods.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors is located at 21819 NW 11th Ave. in Ridgefield. People can pick up goods from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. They also provide basic home needs for families who recently experienced the loss of their home.

“Ridgefield is a very generous community,” Poppert said.

Poppert added each program is critical for the community as a whole.

The organizers said those who want to donate items should think about what they would buy for their own families, especially when it comes to food.

A majority of senior citizens prefer hearty soup, Lehner said. Staple food items that have lengthy expiration dates are preferred. Household care items like cleaning supplies and hygiene products can be donated as well.

“We do these positive note cards in the snack bags that we give out every week,” Poppert said. “We have snack bags that each family can pick one per student because snacks are expensive.”

Schools within the Ridgefield School District take part in multiple food drives each year. Ridgefield High School is currently holding its “March Can Madness” drive. It includes a point system that tracks donations in honor of the March Madness college basketball tournament.

The Ridgefield Family Resource Center is located in portables C and D between the Ridgefield Administrative and Civic Center building and Union Ridge Elementary at 510 Pioneer St. It operates from 1 to 5 p.m. on Mondays, from noon to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and from 1 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays.

To learn more about the center’s needs or to schedule an appointment, call Poppert at 360-619-1412 or email