The Royalty plan to get out and volunteer in the community this summer

The Strawberry Festival Royalty made their first public appearance since being crowned by volunteering at the Marysville Community Food Bank on May 15.

It's been a little more than two months since the Strawberry Festival's pageant and the coronavirus has upended the normal festival schedule this year, causing the cancellation of festivals across the Puget Sound, including the Marysville Strawberry Festival.

"I'm feeling pretty excited to be able to go out," said Queen Jimena Yanez.

"Especially during this [time of COVID-19]. It feels good to be able to go out and do stuff," said Princess Grace Kyser.

Many of the royalty members have volunteered at the food bank in the past.

"I used to volunteer every Friday here, and I loved to give people food or help them out and you just get to see how grateful they are or they will share their experiences of why they're out here. It's a really cool experience overall," said Kyser.

Princess Katelyn Leary served at the food bank with her NJROTC unit at her school.

"With ROTC we normally volunteer and give food for community service and that's usually really fun, so I'm glad we can come back especially during these tough times where we can come together as a community," she said.

She said she enjoyed helping people out in their time of need.

"I just like to see the look on some people's faces. They feel good and I feel good so I'm just glad for that," said Leary.

Yanez has done volunteer activities before but the food bank is a new experience for her.

"I haven't done this before, but I'm super excited to help," she said.

"I think in this new environment that we're in I think community is just really important, and it helps to have morale and a sense that we're in this together," she said.

The Marysville Community Food Bank, like most food banks in the region and country, is seeing increased demand at this time.

The stay-at-home order from Gov. Jay Inslee has interrupted work for many individuals and families and the food banks are seeing increased demand in a variety of ways.

"There are so many people right now that are going through a really hard time and I think it's important to show unity in the community and just really help one another out," said Kyser.

Officials from Maryfest, the non-profit organization that runs the Strawberry Festival, say that although this year's festival is cancelled the royalty will still be going out into the community to volunteer when there are opportunities to do so safely. 

Regardless of what happens this summer royalty members will still retain their pageant scholarships. Maryfest officials hope that they can featured in parades later in the year or next year as well.

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