Executive Director Carlecia Bell waved, hugged and warmly greeted several people on Saturday morning at the Phenomenal She Baskets of Love Thanksgiving giveaway, a sign of her connection and dedication to the Federal Way community.
On Nov. 19, over 50 families picked up fixings for their Thanksgiving meals at the drive-thru event outside the nonprofit’s headquarters. An additional 70 turkeys donated on the day allowed the nonprofit to serve several people who walked up and inquired about the giveaway.
The event highlights Phenomenal She’s main mission of providing outreach to the community.
“We want to make sure that all families get to experience love and not have to worry about being hungry on a holiday. Not ever, but especially on a holiday,” Bell said.
The third-annual event was hosted in collaboration with Central Area Senior Center, Demetrius Dubose Memorial, Game of Life, Lineage, Sound Credit Union, South King Fire and Rescue, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health and the Marvin Thomas Memorial Fund.
Food donations included turkeys and hams with all the trimmings from Aztec Imports, a donation from Harvest for Hunger, and Cascadia Produce with fresh vegetables. In the drive-thru, people picked up bags filled with stuffing mixes, butter, jams, pasta, canned goods, rice, beans and much more. The final stop allowed visitors to pick up a fresh produce box and pies.
Marvin Thompson Memorial Foundation has hosted a similar event in Seattle for about 20 years, Bell said. Phenomenal She connected with the memorial foundation and offered Thanksgiving meals to the community as a relief initiative beginning three years ago.
“We’ve been doing it ever since,” Bell said. From April 2020 to May of this year, Phenomenal She also handed out hot meals to the community, every single week.
“We had families that were losing jobs and just couldn’t afford it,” she said. “We had several families that had never asked for assistance in the past, and we were fortunate enough to be able to give them hot meals three days a week.”
Those weekly connections created friendships in the community, Bell said.
“As a woman of color myself growing up in Louisiana coming to the Pacific Northwest, there’s not a lot of representation,” Bell said. A few years ago, there were many organizations in Federal Way created as an answer to the uptick in violence among youth, she said. However, these groups were often intended for young men of color.
Established in January 2018, Phenomenal She offers programs specific to mentoring, educating and empowering young women of color in South King County to grow into the next generation of leaders. The nonprofit consists of a three-person staff with several consults including a licensed therapist, dance instructor, STEM tutor, painting and animation instructors and dozens of volunteers
“We just want to be known as an organization that can provide resources for whoever needs it in the community,” she said. “We want to be … known as ‘they’re helping the community. They’re out there doing the work and making a difference.’”
Toy giveaway in December
Phenomenal She is hosting a toy giveaway event Saturday, Dec. 17. The nonprofit is accepting donations of wrapping paper, gift bags and other gift-wrapping items. For more information or to volunteer, visit www.phenomenalshe.org.