Leadership Team

Maria Metzler

Executive Director


(206) 842.7621  

Maria Metzler is the current director of Helpline House.  She most recently served as a senior manager at Seattle's Downtown Emergency Service Center, where her portfolio consisted of overseeing 4 emergency shelter programs providing over 450 beds of shelter each night, 2 scattered sites housing programs providing nearly 300 units of permanent supportive housing, and DESC's Rapid Rehousing program.  Metzler holds a Master's degree in counseling from Seattle University.  She has lived and worked internationally (Italy and Belize), has 3 kids that she and her husband are raising on Bainbridge Island, and she loves the Seattle Sounders and the Kentucky Wildcats.

Tanya Bierlein

Intake Coordinator


(206) 842.7621

Tanya has always enjoyed working with the public and helping people. In 2009, she attended Interface College in Spokane, WA for medical office administration. She started out her career as a surgery coordinator at an oral surgery center and then transferred to a pediatric dental and orthodontic coordinator for four years. She then had the opportunity to move to Kingston, WA in 2014 and was employed as office administrator at a medical office. She was happy with that position but felt she would be able to make more of a difference if she could connect with the right opportunity.

She started her position as Intake Coordinator at Helpline House in May of 2017. Since then, she has learned so much about social work and also about herself which has helped her to understand the work at Helpline House. She is excited to grow with Helpline House and thankful to be part of such a wonderful and giving community here on Bainbridge Island.

Angie Min Emerson

Food Bank Manager


(206) 842.7621

Angie joined Helpline House in May of 2018.  With a Bachelor of Science in business from San Jose State University, Angie's specialty has been in operations and human resources for over 20 years.  She has worked for companies small and large, ranging from manufacturing to environmental consultancies to Tech 100.  She and her husband have been island residents for over 10 years and have 3 children.  She feels very fortunate to work with an amazing group of volunteers here at Helpline House and also loves working with the wonderful Bainbridge Island community.

Ellen Murphy

Volunteer & Program Manager


(206) 842.7621

Ellen Murphy and her family have lived on Bainbridge Island for 22 years but her relationship with Helpline House only began 3 years ago when she started volunteering at the Fishline desk.  She was inspired by the Helpline House staff and mission and began to look for more ways to become involved which led to her acceptance of her current position.  She is excited about ensuring that current and new volunteers also have an inspirational experience because volunteers are the backbone of the Helpline House model. Ellen has a B.A. from Cal State Long Beach and feels blessed to have settled on Bainbridge and to have raised her family in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.


Myra Howrey

Business Manager


(206) 842.7621

Myra has been the Business Manager at Helpline House since 1998.  She has a B.A. degree from the University of Colorado and moved to Bainbridge Island in 1979.  She now lives in Suquamish.  Myra has served in positions of leadership in the League of Women Voters for many years – was on the Board of Directors for the League of Women Voters of Washington for 16 years and is the current President of the League of Women Voters of Kitsap.

Debbie Stearns

Communications Manager


(206) 842.7621


Debbie's 6-year experience as the Volunteer Services Coordinator combined with her background in the printing & design industry has formed her new role as the Communications Manager at Helpline House. She has an AA degree from the University of Alaska, Anchorage and 25 years of project management and graphic design.  She and her husband have been active in the Bainbridge community while raising their 4 children since 1996. Debbie informs and shares with community members how to get support for life's hardest challenges through Helpline House's professional services. 


Social Work Team

Gina Kapel  MSW, LICSW

Gina has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in Developmental Child Psychology, with an emphasis in child abuse and neglect. She also has a Master of Social Work from Augsburg College, in Minneapolis, MN. The majority of her work experience has been working as a social worker, on inpatient mental health units in psychiatric hospitals, in Minnesota and Washington. She originally came to Helpline House as a Fishline volunteer, then worked in volunteer management and as an on call social worker. She left for several years and came back to work as a clinical social worker in 2017.

Marilyn Gremse  BA

Marilyn has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington in Anthropology. After a short career as an archaeologist and researcher, she studied Counseling at the University of California at Santa Barbara and worked with victims of violent crimes in a California district attorney’s office. Combining her counseling and research skills, Marilyn worked as a Litigation Paralegal in Seattle for many years after obtaining a Certification in Paralegal Studies from University of Washington. In 1989, Marilyn joined Helpline House where she has served for 20 years as the Food Bank Operations Manager. Marilyn is currently a member of the Social Work team.   She is a certified Medicare specialist (SHIBA) and is obtaining credentials related to Social Security benefits application process (SOAR).   Marilyn enjoys assisting people navigate bureaucracies and untangle a wide range of issues as a case manager.

Tana Berry  BASW, MSW Intern


Tana is a graduate of the University of Washington, Tacoma where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare with a focus in Psychology. She is currently a student at Simmons University and is earning her Masters of Social Welfare specializing in clinical mental health therapy. Tana came to Helpline House as an intern for her BASW in September 2018, was hired on as permanent staff in June 2019, and is now completing her second internship for her MSW. Her goal is to eventually work in Hospice and End-of-Life Care and to provide the much needed support for our growing older adult population. 

Cristina Carnie  BA, CD (DONA)


Cristina Carnie earned her Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College in Hispanic Studies. She is originally from Washington, D.C. and resides in Seattle. She is an herbalist and certified birth doula, and is currently earning her Masters in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Cristina has worked with youth, adults, and couples in schools, hospitals, and private settings, both in English and Spanish. She is in practicum at Helpline House while working towards eventual licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

Paige Pereira   Case Management Intern


Paige was born and raised on Guam and moved to Kitsap County with her family in 2016. After receiving her AA degree from Olympic College Bremerton, she continued her academic career in the BASW program at the University of Washington. The majority of her work and volunteer experience revolved around youth work and childcare; these experiences helped her acknowledge the need for social welfare services and motivated her to pursue a social work career. She is excited to move forward in her social work journey here at Helpline House and gain experience in case management and overall community-building. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with my family, swimming and playing her ukulele.

Erika Dorsey   MA, LMHC


Erika has worked in the mental health field for over 20 years in a variety of settings, from community mental health, school-based counseling to private practice. She is from Detroit Michigan and moved to Bainbridge Island in 2002. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and her Master’s degree in Counseling from Antioch University in Seattle.


She has experience and training working with individuals and facilitating groups in mindfulness, DBT, and mind-body relational trauma healing and recovery. She enjoys working with clients of all ages from children through older adults and their families to overcome obstacles that may be in the way of achieving their full potential and realizing a sense of well-being, stability and life satisfaction. She has four children and in her spare time enjoys running, reading, camping and traveling.

Helpline House Food Bank and Social Services of Bainbridge Island

Helpline House is a community non-profit agency providing an umbrella of social services striving to help our Bainbridge Island neighbors to meet essential needs.  Basic services are provided cost-free, regardless of income.  Needs are defined broadly and not always financial.  Any community member in crisis or in need of consultation is welcome. 

Need after hours or emergency services?

Helpline House has a policy of non-discrimination regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual preference, age, disability or veteran’s status, and is in compliance with all requirements of law and regulations with respect to employment, volunteer participation or service delivery. 


282 Knechtel Way NE

Bainbridge Island, WA 98110



NEW Food Bank Hours

START JUNE 15, 2020


Mon - Fri, except Weds

9 AM - 12 PM

Food Bank Curbside Pickup

Mon - Fri, except Weds

12 PM - 4 PM

Social Work

Remote Services Only Via Phone
Weekdays 9 AM - 5 PM


(206) 842.7621




(206) 842-9867