MOUNT VERNON, WA – Some volunteers step up for an occasion and some step up and continue to be involved over the long haul. David, Teresa, Nathan and Maisie Holt, parishioners at Holy Rosary – Edmonds, are one of those families!
Last Christmas Teresa Holt contacted the CCS Farmworker Center (FWC) and said she wanted to help the local farming community with things that families could use. Teresa and her family first learned about FWC when her children, Nathan and Maisie, attended the Youth Migrant Project (YMP) week in Burlington with their parish, Holy Rosary (Edmonds) in 2016. Teresa has donated items for baby showers, quilts, clothing, houseware items, books, etc. Last Christmas, the Holt family naturally thought of the CCS Farmworker Center, and wanted to help out once more.
Making contact with staff at the FWC, Teresa agreed to meet there and bring needed items. Well, she showed up with a van full of donations, homemade quilts, and baby items to be shared with the many families who were being hit hard by the lack of farming jobs during the winter season. Marta Martinez Olivera and Guillermina Bazante, CCS FWC Program/Outreach Coordinators, distributed the donations and were able to help many families.
Fast forward to spring 2020, and the COVID-19 pandemic, and here comes the Holt family again! Teresa called Guillermina, and said her family wanted to help the FWC families with food and needed items. Mary Wahl, CCS Network Builder/ FWC Supervisor, also spoke to Teresa and explained that her timing was good because many farmworker families were coming off the winter season and looking forward to working in the daffodil fields. They began work but due to COVID-19, they were laid off, causing a community wide issue that was negatively impacting many farmworkers in the Skagit Valley. Mary also said, “Marta and Guillermina stay very close to the farmworker community family, which is how they know about the need for emergency services. The community trusts the FWC staff, and confides in both.”
This time Teresa involved her son, Nathan Holt (Age 15) who is now a sophomore at Bishop Blanchet High School in Seattle. Bishop Blanchet High School requires each student to give 20 hours of service each year. Nathan is a member of the cross country team, tennis team, and the National Honor Society. Nathan graduated from Holy Rosary School in Edmonds, and his sister, Maisie, is an 8th grader there now. As part of Catholic schools, the Holt kids are encouraged to live out their faith through community work.
Nathan has his driving permit and needed to log 50 hours driving before he could get his drivers’ license. With the ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ COVID-19 mandate, opportunities to practice driving had been reduced. His family came up with a solution to help the Farmworker Center while getting in some driving practice by delivering a vanload of donated food, diapers, used clothes and school supplies. Nathan and Teresa were welcomed by Guillermina at the FWC, and on Friday, April 4th, she and Marta divided the food into family portions and distributed to needy families of the FWC.
Over time and years, the Holt family has shown so much compassion for the Farmworker Center family needs. Teresa Holt also shared that as a teacher, she was also thinking of how to help youth in the Skagit Valley learn about submitting successful college applications and how to also capture their life stories when they write their college essays.
Once the COVID-19 issue is over and life returns to normal, Teresa said she will meet with the FWC staff and start planning the next volunteer effort. The Holt family story of volunteering began in 2016, involves the entire family, and will continue for years to come. If you look at it in terms of family or generational volunteering, the Holt family has only just begun!