Basic Needs Drive
Donation boxes located at all three Co-op locations
James Herman Sanderson touched the lives of the staff and customers at the Cordata store, and eventually lived with the Hilty-Jones family. Pictured at left, James enjoys time with his youngest friend, Elias Hilty-Jones. To honor his memory and charitable spirit, we are honored to host this Basic Needs Drive to support community members experiencing homelessness.
The Co-op is hosting a Basic Needs Drive to collect supplies for the homeless community in Bellingham. Please donate new, unopened items from the high needs list (below). After the collection drive has ended, the Co-op will coordinate with Northwest Youth Services and community volunteers to distribute care packages to people on the streets and in shelters.
Over the past few years, Cordata staff was fortunate to befriend a homeless man by the name of James Herman Sanderson. He became so close to our staff that former front end team member Beau Hilty-Jones, along with his family, took James in as he finished his journey on this earth. In December, James passed as a result of ALS. With the permission of Beau and James’ family, we dedicate this Basic Needs Drive to his memory and with the desire to bring the care and hospitality to our homeless community that James brought to everyone he met.
A little about James, as shared by Hayley Forney, Cordata deli
James was a veteran twice over, serving in the Vietnam War in both the Army and the Navy. He also experienced homelessness twice in his life. He worked as a Real Change vendor in Bellevue after the 2008 economic crash. In 2011, he relocated to Bellingham and became a fixture at the Cordata store.
James never met a stranger and made friends easily. He quickly found his way into our hearts, bringing the staff flowers and chocolates as signs of appreciation for a job well done. Staff used to joke that he was the maitre’d of the Cordata café, welcoming all who came for lunch and sometimes dinner. He was the most hospitable and kind person I have ever met—making sure everyone was comfortable in his care. He talked with a lot of people living on the street to ensure people were aware of their options and he always listened to people’s problems.