Community March 25, 2024

How Helpline House Strengthens Our Community

Founded in 1968, Helpline House on Bainbridge Island provides social services to individuals and families in need. Helpline offers housing and utility assistance, social work and counseling services, a food bank, medical supplies, and senior services. Additionally Helpline has many great programs for children, including Project Backpack and Project Happy Birthday.

Here at Windermere Bainbridge Island, we are proud supporters of Helpline House. Their work is vital and strengthens are community in many ways. We recently spoke to Executive Director Maria Metzler to learn more.


Maria Metzler, Executive Director

Maria has been the Executive Director at Helpline House for the last seven years, she shared her story of getting involved.

“I was living on the Island, but commuting to Seattle for work every day. My whole career has been in social services and nonprofits, and as such, I was aware of the amazing work of Helpline House in my community. My kids were young at the time and I wanted them to grow up understanding what a healthy, connected, intentional community looks like, specifically, their own community. When the opportunity arose to become a part of Helpline House, I jumped.”




Helpline House’s Inspiring Mission

When we asked Maria about how Helpline inspires her, she said, “‘Becoming a part of the circle of giving and receiving.’ We are all in that circle, in various places, all the time. There are moments in our lives when we are the givers and equally as many moments in our lives when we are the receivers. We give and receive daily – love, affection, guidance, lessons. Helpline House exemplifies this in our community. It is one of the most generous, philanthropic, giving communities out there. Helpline House is lucky enough to be the face of that on Bainbridge Island. However, I would be remiss not to add that I’m inspired not just by the ‘givers,’ but by the receivers, too. It takes courage to ask for help. We are a better, stronger, healthier community because of their bravery and willingness to come to Helpline House. Ultimately, I truly believe we are all givers and receivers, and being at Helpline House is just one example of how we live that every day. We would not and could not exist without our community. In 2023, we distributed 68,000 pounds of food a month.”

Helpline is making an incredible impact, and we’re so grateful for Maria’s efforts and the rest of the Helpline House team. Additionally, they have a new mental health program for kids. Maria informed us that “Helpline House is the only provider of free mental health therapy for kids ages 5-12 in the area.”

How You Can Help

A great way to support Helpline House is through participating in a food drive. Also, you can donate food in the designated bins at Town & Country or Safeway. Financial support is wonderful, too. By making a monetary donation, Helpline has more purchasing power due to partnerships. Your dollars go further to purchase more food because staff can buy needed items through other, larger, food systems.

Giving events are also an easy, rewarding way to show your support. The Kitsap Great Give is a fantastic time to donate. April 16th is the big day this year, with early giving starting on April 1st. Also, you can round up or give directly at the registers at Town & Country any time you shop. In the fall, the annual Turkey Trot is a wonderful fundraiser.

If you’d like to help more regularly, there are weekly shifts available for volunteers. You can greet shoppers, stock and sort food, pick up food in the morning from local grocery stores, and more. Additionally, Helpline needs substitutes who can be available with a day or two’s notice when regular volunteers are unable to make it. Maria says, “Ultimately, one of the best ways of supporting our organization is to be an ambassador. Tell your family and friends about Helpline House and how you think Bainbridge Island is a better community because of it. Your support could inspire more giving, more volunteering, but also perhaps inspire a neighbor to seek help if previously they were unsure about it.”

For questions about getting involved, email:

Our Office’s Involvement

Windermere Bainbridge Island has long supported programs at Helpline House, namely Project Backpack. “We love Windermere,” Maria commented. “You make it possible for households who get brand new backpacks and school supplies for their children to also have a gift card to purchase the necessary items that are not included in the backpack pick up.”

Last year, our office also helped provide Thanksgiving meals by supporting Helpline’s Thanksgiving program with grocery store gift cards. This supplemented the Thanksgiving items Helpline offers in their food bank.

As Maria said, “It takes all of us” to improve our community. We’re so grateful for Helpline House!