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A family affair

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Some families have made the decision to “shelter together” and this is the case for Edmonds EA member and Brier Terrace Middle School PE and health teacher Jake Dalton who left his home in South Everett to temporarily  “hole up” with his parents, his two brothers and his oldest brother’s wife and their three boys. This  brings the whole household brood to nine.

“We can laugh, cry and make the best out of the situation together, Dalton says. “It can be hectic, but it is also wonderful and worth it for us all to be together.” Dalton says he knew he needed something to keep him busy but also wanted to help his community. Taking the idea from the little lending libraries spotting neighborhoods all over Washington State, Dalton decided to create a tiny pantry to give community members a chance to take or to leave perishable food.

Dalton says he asked his brother, Joel, for building help because he is quite handy.

“If you have ever worked with a sibling or family member, you understand when I say it was a little challenging, but with everyone pitching in here and there – from my Mom giving us a $50 gift card to Lowe’s – to one of the littlest Daltons, River, coming out to supervise, we finally got it done.”

Dalton’s mom, Eileen Dalton, is a paraeducator at Brier Elementary and a long-time community activist. She runs a before- and after-school childcare program and is well loved in Brier. All of that experience is probably lending itself well to the fact that Eileen is currently living under one roof with seven boys or men. Luckily, her daughter-in-law is also in the mix.

Dalton says the last piece of the puzzle was to create a sign. His other brother, Josh’s wife, Elizabeth, is the family artist so he asked her to paint it. The pantry went up in front of their parents’ home on the main road in Brier. They put the word out about it and didn’t really know what to expect.

He says the pantry, which is a huge hit, filled up in two days. They got more than what their shelves could handle so his father, who works at a metal shop, brought two metal shelves home to re-enforce the pantry and that allowed Dalton to complete the pantry “remodel.”

With shelves packed with food (and toilet paper, by the way) Dalton says he reached out to counselors at his school and says he is working with them and a local food bank to make sure the food goes to families who need a little extra help.

“I am so proud to be a part of a community that is so eager to help others out. These (projects) are just what people need in these tough times to make the world just a little bit better,” Dalton says. He says he couldn’t have done it without help from his entire family. He thanks them along with, “the amazing people of Brier for making this as successful as it is.”

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