Morganette Finch is seen at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank in Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Morganette Finch is seen at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank in Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Leaving behind a legacy of ‘love for people’

Long-time food bank worker Morganette Finch retires

Morganette Finch hopes that whoever takes on the job she’s been doing at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank for the last decade has the “same love for people that I do.”

Finch says she’s retiring after 10 years, but this 10-year stint at the food bank is actually her second — she retired once before and came back.

In her time at the food bank, she said she’s seen countless different people come through the door in need, but she says she treats everyone the same.

“It’s very important that they know they’re important; that smile might be the only smile they get all day.”

“She always treats everybody with utmost kindness and respect,” Kenai Peninsula Food Bank Executive Director Greg Meyer said. “She has navigated some pretty significant health issues amazing well, she’s a very strong person.”

Meyer said Finch greets people when they come into the food bank, finds out what their needs are and steers them to the right programs, also assisting with paperwork.

From her office in the warehouse, she said she is involved with many of the food bank’s services.

“There’s a lot of programs,” she said. “People aren’t aware of them, but they should look into it. They can always call here and ask.”

“I’m really not looking forward to leaving,” she said.

Finch’s retirement comes only as a result of chronic health issues. Those complications have plagued her all year, but through it all she has still been showing up to work and serving the community.

“They’re some pretty big shoes to fill,” Meyer said. “When you talk to the people that come in, she is somebody that they look forward to seeing and really respect. She’s built that position and our face in the community to those folks in a very powerful and positive way.”

Beyond the work Finch has done, Meyer said she would also be missed as a person, describing her as a real character in the office, telling jokes and bringing in pies.

Finch said she’s always been drawn to people — any people. She enjoys being around them and especially being able to help them, especially seniors and children. This is something she’s always known about herself, first as a child among 12 in her family.

She said that she connects with people in need because she’s “absolutely been there, done that.”

“I’ve been homeless. I’ve raised three kids by myself. I know what things people go through, and I’ve learned to turn the other cheek and smile,” Finch said. “When they come through my door they’re number one.”

Finch’s last day will be Nov. 30. All that’s left to do is training others for end-of-month reporting.

Leaving, even after 10 years, is something Finch said is only happening because she’s missing so much work for medical treatments.

Finch was infected with the delta variant of COVID-19 in January, and that exacerbated her long-time issues with diabetes.

“It killed my kidneys.”

Now, Finch said she has to receive dialysis for 12 hours a week.

“My kids are going to help me, and we’re going to accomplish paying bills because, honestly, as a senior drawing Social Security, I won’t be able to.”

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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