Volunteer Spotlight: Bahá’ís of Snohomish County

Homeward House is fortunate to have the support of several volunteer groups. In this post, we’re shining a light on the Bahá’ís (“ba-HIGHs”) of Snohomish County. They are partnering with Homeward House on a unique year-long project to nourish family bonds and foster new connections toward building a more vibrant community.

Food Pantry Project

Demonstrating their deep commitment to community welfare, the Bahá’ís of Snohomish County have taken on the responsibility of stocking the pantry in the Homeward House visitation center with necessary provisions every month for an entire year, ensuring that families have access to a fully supplied kitchen to prepare and share meals during their visitations.

Homeward House staff members display a recent pantry donation from The Bahá’ís of Snohomish County.

Partnerships like the one we have with the Bahá’ís of Snohomish County are the heartbeat of long-lasting change within our community. Their selfless dedication goes above and beyond; they not only fill our pantry but also nurture the spirits of our staff and the family members we serve.

Argelia Grassfield

Regional Director, YWCA Seattle|King| Snohomish

Uniting For a Common Purpose

The Bahá’í group didn’t consider the project lightly. Before partnering with Homeward House, the members clarified their purpose by asking themselves:

 How can we break the boundaries of what’s familiar toward building a vibrant community in Snohomish County?

Their hopes were pinned on the concept of relationships and service, forming bonds that extend beyond the confines of their group, reaching into the broader community, and reflecting the conviction that we all belong to one human family, which is the foundation of the Bahá’í Faith.

We want to work together, reach out into the community, and be shoulder to shoulder with people of common purpose, not necessarily common faith or any faith whatsoever.”
Mary Ellen Togtman-Wood

Project Group Member, Bahá'ís of Snohomish County

The group is motivated not by a desire for grand statements or fundraising but by forging genuine connections based on a common aim. Homeward House was a natural fit with its clear commitment to race and social justice. Members of the group were moved hearing of the plight of parents battling substance use disorders. The family-centered approach and the transformative potential of offering a safe space for parents and children aligned with their purpose.

“What Do You Need?”

Instead of proposing their own ideas, the Bahá’í project team members asked the Homeward House staff, “What do you need?” Then they listened. The response was clear: having food in the Homeward House pantry for families to cook and share meals during visitations could help them heal and grow together.

After careful consideration, the Bahá’í group committed to shopping, purchasing, and making monthly deliveries of the items on the grocery list provided by staff and to do so for one year. Then, they would take time to consult, evaluate, and reflect on the next steps.

In just the first four months, they’ve made a tremendous impact, transforming the kitchen at the visitation center into a place where families regularly cook, connect, and enjoy a sense of normalcy while on their journeys to recovery and reunification.

Learning and Growing

The project is a learning experience, with the Baha’is of Snohomish County refining its approach, setting limits, and prioritizing tasks to keep its overall commitment feasible. The members also trust the expertise of Homeward House staff when it comes to knowing what to stock for the families they serve, even when it might differ from the volunteers’ preferences.

As others hear about the project and its needs, more people get involved. Members of Bahá’ís of Everett now help by bringing milk and bread every week. Plus, by telling more people about what’s needed, like baby care items, they’ve gotten even more support.

More Than Volunteering

Working with Homeward House means more to the Bahá’ís than just volunteering. They believe serving others and deepening and developing new relationships create a vibrant community for everyone.

The Baha’is of Snohomish County welcome others, of all or no faiths, who want to make sure the families of Homeward House continue to have a healthy environment in which to bond and heal.

If this story moves you and you want to pitch in, contact Mary Ellen Togtman-Wood.

Are you passionate about making a difference in our community? Homeward House welcomes volunteers. For more information and to express your interest, please get in touch with our site manager.

We’re excited to hear from you.