Rosie Salinas knows what it's like to need help.
Back in 2011, she was a newly-single mother supporting four kids on her own, and although she was working full time, she struggled to make ends meet.
She feared she'd lose her home. It was a challenge to put food on the table.
A friend suggested she seek out help at a food bank. So Salinas, who lives in Hermiston, made her way to Agape House, operated by Eastern Oregon Mission.
The food helped nourish her family – and Salinas' spirit.
Now more than a decade later, Salinas is paying it forward.
She's manager of WaFd Bank's Hermiston branch, and she recently delivered a check for $7,500 to Agape House to be used to help other families in need.
The grant came from WaFd's foundation.
Salinas, who volunteers at Agape House along with other members of her branch, encouraged the food bank to apply for the funding.
"I know what it’s like, what the families are going through," she said. "(Helping them get the grant) is something that I’m very proud I was able to accomplish."
WaFd Bank used to be known as Washington Federal. It was founded in 1917 and has more than 200 locations in eight states, including Washington and Oregon.
A branch is coming to Kennewick in 2024. It's set to open on Feb. 8 in the former Teahaus building at 5331 W. Canal Drive.
WaFd bought the roughly 3,800-square-foot building in May for $1.5 million, according to Benton County property records.
Agape House helps about 900 families a month.
Mark F. Gomolski, executive director of East Oregon Mission, said the demand has been growing as more people struggle with inflation and rising costs.
The grant from WaFd Bank's foundation will go a long way toward helping the families they serve, he said.
And it's especially meaningful because of Salinas' involvement, he said.
"We are very, very happy that we were able to help (Salinas) in the past. It shows how much impact we have on our community. It’s a beautiful payback and reminder that we’re here to help," he said.
Salinas is thriving now. She's happily remarried and her kids are doing well – the older two are in the workforce and the younger two both are studying at Columbia Basin College in Pasco.
She enjoys her job at WaFd Bank's Hermiston branch. When she became manager, she set aside time each week for employees to volunteer at Agape House and in local schools.
It means a lot to her to give back and to pay forward, she said. She made sure to deliver the $7,500 check to Agape House herself.
"Agape was there for me and my children," she said. "I'm so happy knowing the grant is going to do good."
Daily and Monthly NewsSign up now!