Sharon Snuffin is a busy woman.
She is the founder and president of Snuffin’s Catering — which has been in business for 42 years — and has spent several years volunteering her time on a variety of local nonprofit organizations.
In recognition for her years of community service, Snuffin was awarded the 2015 Humanitarian of the Year by the Franciscan Foundation and Sisters of St. Francis.
“It’s been important to me and my family that we give to nonprofits that meet basic needs for people,” Snuffin said, adding that the award came as a surprise. “That is adequate food, healthy food, shelter and access to medical care. Those are the things important to me that I spend my time and money on.”
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The award was presented to Snuffin at a luncheon ceremony held at St. Ann’s convent in Tacoma, with Snuffin’s friends and family in attendance.
“The important people in my life (where there),” Snuffin said.
It’s been important to me and my family that we give to nonprofits that meet basic needs for people...That is adequate food, healthy food, shelter and access to medical care.
Sharon Snuffin, founder and president of Snuffin’s Catering
The award considers the nominee’s involvement with the community and length of involvement, and considers community service outside of the Franciscan organization.
Snuffin had been on the Franciscan Foundation board for nine years and served as co-chair of the capital campaign for St. Anthony Hospital, helping to raise more than $16 million from the community.
She has also donated her time as the vice-chair for the Carol Milgard Breast Center, as a member of the Pierce County Food Advisory Board (chair from 2003 to 2012), as vice-chair of the Emergency Food Network and co-chair of the Network’s Capacity Campaign, and been involved with Nativity House, Hospitality Kitchen, Salvation Army and Northwest Furniture Bank.
“It’s part of being a good community member,” Snuffin said of her volunteer work. “It’s important to give back ... the fact that our business is successful allows me to give back.”
Snuffin first became interested in cooking from Julia Childs, trying out her recipes and watching her show on TV.
She earned a degree from Washington State University in home economics education and taught for several years before getting married.
“I like the kitchen ... the kitchen’s fun,” she said. “I discovered I had a flair for (cooking).”
Snuffin started her business cooking for private homes, moved to corporate events and, finally, weddings, which kept the company afloat during the recession.
We’ve really been fortunate (that) we’ve had fantastic staff...That’s the bottom line. We’ve had so many good people work for the company.
“Weddings always happen,” she said. “That’s one of the fun things we do. Helping someone’s special day.”
She also credits her staff as a big component for keeping the company progressing over the years.
“We’ve really been fortunate (that) we’ve had fantastic staff,” she said. “That’s the bottom line. We’ve had so many good people work for the company.”
She decided to start her business in Gig Harbor as a conscious move to support the community she lives in.
“We’ve been here forever,” Snuffin said. “We chose not to put our business in Tacoma (because) we wanted to stay here where our family is.”
Snuffin’s son, Nick, works as the operations manager, and a succession of nieces and nephews have worked at the company over the years. Chef Brian Nathanson has been with the company for almost three years and general manager Annie Butcher has worked with Snuffin for 28 years.
(Let me just say) how incredibly proud we are to have an owner that not only is an incredible businesswoman, but also cares about her community.
Annie Butcher, general manager
“(I love) the creativity, the clients (and) the freedom we have to make people extraordinarily happy,” Butcher, 54, said. “And the food.”
Snuffin has moved to semi-retirement this year and has left most of the day-to-day running of the company with Butcher.
“(We’re going to) continue in the success of the company that Sharon built to keep growing and offering the same great service we always have,” Butcher said of the future plans for the company.
She spoke for the entire staff when she added: “(Let me just say) how incredibly proud we are to have an owner that not only is an incredible businesswoman, but also cares about her community.”