Kirkland Thrift Store gives $5,000 to Pantry Packs for LWSD Students

We love our community partners! Thank you Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop in Totem Lake for the $5,000 check to Pantry Packs. With Pantry Packs hitting an all time high of 860 packs going out each week, this money will help buy much needed food for the program.

If you are cleaning and getting rid of stuff - consider donating your "good" stuff to ECA Thrift Shop as they are an all-volunteer organization supporting the Eastside community through grants and vouchers to many nonprofits in the area. Check out their story in the Kirkland Reporter below...


Reprint of Article as Published by the Kirkland Reporter:


blog pic 2.3.2018

The Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop has been around for more than 36 years, donating to local nonprofits.

In 2017, the shop donated $150,082 to more than 80 local organizations. Courtesy of

Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop

Shopping for a cause: ECA Thrift Shop gives back to local nonprofits

The shop gives a majority of its profits away in cash but also provides vouchers for those in need.

The Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop may seem like a typical thrift shop, but its local ties go back 36 years during which the nonprofit has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars back into the Eastside community.

The shop donated $150,082 back into more than 80 local organizations with a focus on human services and homelessness in 2017. The organization is entirely run by volunteers, so any money that doesn’t go to rent or operational costs is donated.

“We’re one of a kind,” said Jody Orbits, president of the ECA Thrift Shop board. “It’s like giving back to the community but in a big way. One person can’t make the impact like we do, but as a group we give huge amounts of money away and it has so many layers of goodness within it.”

Currently, the ECA Thrift Shop is looking to donate more grant funds to Eastside nonprofit organizations, particularly small groups needing a little help.

Organizations the shop has donated to include HERO House in Bellevue, Little Bit Therapeutic Riders in Redmond and Boots to Shoes Foundation in Kirkland.

The shop’s inventory is typical among other thrift shops, including clothing, furniture, books, collectibles, jewelry and just about anything that is clean and can be resold. The shop accepts donations during its operating hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at its Kirkland location at 12451 116 Ave. N.E.

The shop gives a majority of its profits away in cash, but they also provide vouchers for those in need through local homeless shelters and domestic violence help projects, including The Sophia WayNew Bethlehem Projectand Lifewire.

“I love how much money we give away, and all the vouchers,” said Susan Smith, vice president and retail coordinator for the thrift shop.

The vouchers can usually be redeemed for $25 worth of purchases or 10 different items at the thrift shop. According to Smith, it’s perfect for people who are homeless who need warm clothes or someone who’s transitioning into their first home and needs stuff to fill it.

“We really try to help a lot of people in the community who really need it,” Orbits said. “We know many people by name, they come so often. They just feel it’s a fun place to come and shop, but best of all they get some good deals.”

Additionally, the shop gives back to local students through six scholarships at Cascadia College in Bothell and Lake Washington Institute of Technologyin Kirkland. Each college receives three $2,000 scholarships — two for human services students and one for an engineering student.

“We really like helping the community colleges because they aren’t always in the news and people don’t always donate to them,” Orbits said. “But these kids come out and they’re amazing at what they do.”


The thrift shop has been running for more than 36 years and has grown tremendously since its beginning as a garage sale run by 14 local women.

Currently, the organization is run by 45 volunteers, but this number fluctuates often and has been as high as 66.

The original women who started the community garage sale realized that they had the potential to grow their operation into something larger.

According to Orbits, they found success and eventually opened the first ECA Thrift Shop location in Redmond.

The thrift shop has moved between five locations since then and is currently settled in Kirkland. Orbits said they’d love to have their own location instead of renting building after building whenever they outgrow the space or rent becomes too expensive.

“We could’ve given away that much more over the years, plus we’ve paid for a storage unit so there’s even less to give away,” Orbits said. “But nowadays it would be impossible to have (our own) place unless someone donated something.”


Many of the thrift shop volunteers are retired and have the time to help operate the shop part-time throughout the week. The shop also sees many local high school students who come and volunteer for community service hours.

“It’s an easy thing for people to come in and do because you don’t need any experience and there’s always stuff to do,” Orbits said.

The shop also sees many volunteers who come in to work off court-issued community service.

Because the organization is run entirely by volunteers, Orbits worries about who will replace the administration as they retire from the organization.

“It’d be nice to continue, but it depends on the manpower,” Orbits said. “Because there’s no paid people there’s no reason for anyone to actually stay.”

For now, the thrift shop continues and thrives as they work to help hold up other nonprofits and simply provide good deals for locals.

“(2017 was) our best year ever. We’re getting more customers and more donations,” Smith said. “We are a very hands on part of the community and we’re also a place where you can come and just get help the community.” 


Insight from the Seattle Times on Why Pantry Packs has increased to 814 Packs per Week


Redmond Reporter Provides Data on Why the Eastside, and the LWSD, Experience Food Insecurity

Reprint of Article as published by the Redmond Reporter:


Redmond Reporter

School lunch data raises questions of equity on the Eastside

 , Thu Sep 28th, 2017 2:11pm

Redmond Reporter PhotoA stock lunch photo. Sound Publishing file photo

The free and reduced lunches program offered by school districts is often used as a way to approximate the number of students living in relative poverty compared to the national average.

On its face, the 11 percent of students who are in the program in Lake Washington School District (LWSD) is a vast improvement on the 43 percent of students in it statewide.

But many schools in the district, especially in Kirkland, have rates higher than 20 percent.

Muir, Frost and Einstein Elementary have 36, 35 and 32 percent of their students in the program, respectively.

Other schools with high rates include Kamiakin Middle School at 32 percent, Emerson High School at 28 percent and Rose Hill Elementary at 27 percent.

Bell Elementary, Juanita Elementary, Juanita High School and Keller Elementary also have more than 1-in-5 students in the programs.

Of the 11 schools with more than 20 percent of students in the free and reduced lunches program, all of them have a higher rate of Latino and Hispanic students than those at the other end of the spectrum, according to documents from the Washington state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

Hispanic and Latino students made up between 14 to 29 percent of the total student body at schools with more than 20 percent of students on free and reduced lunches.

Matias Valenzuela, director of the King County Office of Equity and Social Justice, said this stems from complex historical factors of discrimination and a societal intersection of race and income disparity.

“They’re very much historically based,” he said.

Practices like redlining, which were used in the Seattle area, helped to contribute to the disenfranchisement of Jewish, black, Hispanic and Asian families. Maps of these districts where people were kettled into can be seen on the University of Washington’s Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project.

Many people of color were also excluded from the post-World War II GI Bill, which helped veterans pay for college and buy homes, according to KUOW. This has helped contribute to generational wealth inequality.

On the Eastside, wealthy businessmen like Miller Freeman, grandfather of Bellevue mogul Kemper Freeman, helped stoke fears in the early and mid-20th century against Japanese Americans using his newspapers, according to the Seattle Globalist and The Stranger.

An income gap between different groups continues today.

Data from Valenzuela’s office shows that the King County overall poverty rate was 11.2 percent.

White poverty rates were the lowest at 7.5 percent, followed by Asian poverty rates at 11.8 percent.

These numbers jumped significantly for Hispanics and Latinos at 21.6 percent and 28.5 percent for black families.

“Some of those gaps have actually begun to widen in recent decades,” Valenzuela said.

One of the biggest drivers of wealth inequality is affordability, with housing costs soaring in recent years and other amenities becoming more expensive too.

Many people, especially communities of color, have been forced farther and farther from where they work or go to school, adding additional transit costs, Valenzuela said.

“There are areas like the Eastside, and like certain parts of Seattle, where we have – where it’s become very challenging for people to live,” he said. “Especially if they’re not making a good living wage, it’s hard to raise a family, and it become a circular, kind of vicious cycle.”

According to Rent Cafe, the average two-bedroom apartment in Redmond cost $2,000 in September. Sammamish clocked in at $2,100 and Kirkland saw the lowest prices at $1,850.

Minimum wage in Washington state is $11 an hour, meaning a full-time job at that rate only grosses $1,760 a month.

Many well-paying jobs on the Eastside and greater Seattle area are tech-industry positions.

According to the Seattle Business Magazine, Washington state ranks second in the nation for states that import college graduates from outside the state, meaning that many students who are educated here may not be finding jobs in the tech sector.

State leaders have tried to rectify this by emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math education in recent years in state schools and universities.

But the state Supreme Court found in 2012 that the Legislature was not adequately funding basic education in the state and ordered Olympia to fix it.

A deal was reached for the 2017-2019 biennium budget to fix the funding gap by substantially raising property taxes in King County to offset deficits in more rural counties.

This will equate to a nearly $800 increase in taxes for property owners in the LWSD by 2021, according to King County Executive Dow Constantine’s website. This will likely drive housing costs even higher.

According to the OSPI website, students qualify for reduced lunches when their family falls under 185 percent of the federal poverty level, and for free lunches when they are at or below 130 percent of that marker.

For 2017, the federal poverty level for a family of four was $24,600, meaning a four person family must be making $45,510 or under to qualify for reduced lunches.

In a region as expensive to live in as the LWSD, this raises questions as to whether that limit is adequate to meet student needs.

LWSD Director of Intervention Services Kelly Pease said the district couldn’t speak to whether the level of support provided by the program was sufficient, but said there are many other programs they provide to help students.

Frost, Muir and Einstein Elementary all receive Title 1 funding, which provides additional teachers to support students who are not performing at district-standard rates.

“Really, we’re very much a data driven system,” Pease said.

They also provide tutoring at homeless shelters and transportation for students who may currently live outside the district but whose home district is LWSD.

Additional food programs for students to take home over the weekend as well as support for extracurricular activities and athletics are also provided.

“As a district, we look at how to ensure that our students living in poverty have access to the same experience as other kids do,” Pease said.

A variety of private groups area trying to tackle the problem of food insecurity, especially surrounding students in the LWSD.

Many of these are represented in the Redmond Nourishing Network, which coordinates between its members to run a variety of programs.

The group will be collecting food and personal hygiene items to distribute every October at the Redmond Saturday Market.

But a solution to wealth inequality on the Eastside may require more structural changes in society.

“We all win when we all win, in the sense that if we are able to decrease inequalities here it will be something that is favorable for everybody,” Valenzuela said.


Shop at Whole Foods Redmond in Support of LWSD's Pantry Packs


SAVE THE DATE:  Shop at REDMOND Whole Foods Market on Wednesday, September 20th when 5% of the store's net sales will be donated to support the Pantry Packs Program powered by the Lake Washington Schools Foundation.

The Pantry Packs program provides weekend packs of food for approximately 750 Lake Washington School District students who are identified as being "food insecure." With community donations of time, funds, and kid-friendly food, 40-50 volunteers come together each month to "pack the packs." Volunteer drivers then deliver the packs to more than 40 participating schools, and each week school coordinators distribute the packs to hungry children in preschool through high school. Throughout the year, Pantry Packs demonstrates how volunteers, schools, and the community work together to help children in our area.

Pantry Packs representitives will be at Whole Foods from noon till 7pm on September 20th. Please stop by!

100% of Donations to Feed Washington designated to the LWSD (Lake Washington School District) go directly to the Pantry Packs, weekend food for kids, program. While we are very pleased to be one of the financial conduits for donations to the Pantry Packs program, now you can also donate to Pantry Packs directly at  Whichever option you choose to use to make your donation, 100% of the funds go to the SAME place, to the SAME kids, to the SAME Pantry Packs program.

How to Apply for & Receive "Free & Reduced School Meals" for the 2017-18 School Year

children eating in cafeteria

 The new school year is fast approaching here in the Pacific Northwest! As you begin planning for your student's success this year, if you feel you are in need, or think you may be in need, of the national Free and Reduced School Meal Program for the 2017-18 school year, here is an excerpt (including links) from the USDA Food and Nutrition website explaining who may qualify and how to apply through your local school:

 *Excerpt reprinted as published on USDA Food and Nutrition website

Applying for Free and Reduced Price School Meals

Last Published: 05/08/2017

Schools send school meal applications home at the beginning of each school year. However, you may apply for school meals any time during the school year by submitting an application directly to your school or district. You may ask for an application any time during the school year. If you’re earning at or below current Income Eligibility Guidelines, you are encouraged to contact your school or district to fill out a school meal application. Applications are reviewed by local school or district officials before granting free or reduced price benefits. If you receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, all of your children who attend school automatically qualify for free school meals. Participation in other Federal assistance programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) also provides automatic eligibility. Please contact your school to determine if you need to fill out an application.

If you are eligible for unemployment compensation, you might also be eligible for free or reduced price school meals. With the cooperation of the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration, we are reaching out to vulnerable households. State Workforce Agency Administrators have been asked to let households seeking unemployment benefits about the availability of free and reduced price school meals. Please contact your school or district for more information.


For further information, you can also view the National School Lunch Program fact sheet.

Free Summer Meals in Redmond, Bothell & LWSD Thank You Note!


Feed Washington donors who support the LWSD project directly enable Pantry Packs to provide weekend food packs to students throughout the school year, however now that the school year has come to a close, summer can be a difficult time for the food insecure students who were being served. So, each summer we like to highlight summer programs who provide free meals for children 18 and under within the communities in the Lake Washington School District.

This year the City of Redmond is offering free summer lunches for kids age 1-18, along with activities, from July 8 - August 23 in the Sunset Gardens Park on NE 95th St and Avondale Rd between 11:30 -12:30, Monday-Friday.  Local favorite, Redmond's Family Pancake House, will be providing the food! These meals are provided regardless of income and no paperwork of any kind is required to receive a meal.


city of redmond logo

Here's the Press Release and Link for the City of Redmond Free Summer Lunch for Kids & Teens program:

Redmond, WA - Join Redmond for a summer of sun, fun, and lunch!

Community Lunch at Sunset Garden’s Park is a FREE program for kids and teens ages 18 and under that runs July 8th-August 23rd, Monday-Friday from 11:30am-12:30 p.m.

Each day starting at 11:30am we’ll host different activities that include playing team sports, conducting science experiments, participating in active games, creating fun take-home crafts, and visits from special guests. At 12:00pm we’ll serve a healthy and delicious lunch provided by the Family Pancake House and sponsored by USDA. Sunset Gardens Park is located near the intersection of NE 95 Street and Avondale Road NE.

If you are interested in receiving a food menu or activities calendar, contact Nancy Chang This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone 425-556-2358.


A Note of Thanks from an LWSD School:

Pantry Packs recently shared this wonderful note from one of the LWSD schools they serve. It is our pleasure to pass this along to our donors so that they know the difference their donations are making in the lives of the kids in their community. Pictures, names and specific schools cannot be shared through social media and blog posts due to privacy concerns for the students being served, so notes such as these are very important for us to pass along to you!

A note from one of the schools we serve:

On behalf of our teaching team, a very appreciative thank you for the weekly Pantry Packs all school year. Due to privacy, it is not really possible for the students/families to say thank you, but as the teacher, I know that your efforts are greatly appreciated. Kids are excited to take home the Pantry Packs and parents have expressed gratitude over the year- especially if funds were tight at home.

Thank you for such commitment and to making the process so seamless for our classroom to participate in- your efforts are greatly appreciated by many!!


Feed WA continues to support Pantry Packs through transition to new partnership with Lake WA Schools Foundation

Pantry Pack LWSF Logo
New alliance, same great program
Dear Pantry Packs supporter:
The Pantry Packs program has evolved over the years, moving from a completely grassroots organization at its beginning to being one of Hopelink’s programs with volunteer management for the past three years. Now for the next stage of our growth, we are transitioning to the Lake Washington Schools Foundation (LWSF), a great organization with our same goal of helping students in the Lake Washington School District.
What kind of changes should you expect? Very few!
Pantry Packs will still be run by the Volunteer Lead Team of Marlene Vacknitz, Janice Wilson Vaché and Karyn Matveyenko.
We will continue to store food and host packing events at the Kirkland Hopelink warehouse during the transition, until we find alternate space.
LWSF will serve as our fiscal agent, as Hopelink does now. This means 501c3, accounting and fundraising support.
Any donations you’ve made via the Feed Washington campaign to benefit Pantry Packs will all still be used to purchase bulk food for our packs.
We will still work with our in-school coordinators to identify and serve hungry students.
We will still hold monthly packing events where drivers pick up and then deliver the packs to their schools.
We will still need your help contributing food, funds and time to be successful.
And most importantly, food-insecure students will continue to receive weekend food packs on Fridays during the school year!
Please note that one change will be food donation drop-offs: those will now only be accepted at the Kirkland warehouse (no longer at Redmond) and ideally on Tuesday or Thursday mornings and Fridays. If you are interested in donation by check or cash, contact us for details at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
This change officially starts on July 1, 2017, but we will be working on the transition through the next few months. If you have any questions, contact the volunteer team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – and while you are reading this, please go ahead and change your address book to reflect this new email address!
Also new: our webpage is at Follow us on Facebook for updates (our Facebook page name will change, but existing followers will remain fans).
Thank you for your continued support and encouragement for this crucial program for LWSD students!

Map the Meal Gap 2017 Report shows Summer Meal Programs benefit from Alternative Food Delivery Models

Reprinted from Feeding America's Map the Meal Gap 2017 Report, page 4.

The findings from Map the Meal Gap 2017 shed light on the fact that there are people struggling with hunger in every county and congressional district in the United States.

Although fewer people nationwide are food insecure, the growing food budget shortfall suggests that people in need may be falling further behind. The study also shows that not all food-insecure people qualify for federal nutrition assistance. The charitable sector has stepped in to serve millions of individuals, as well as families who participate in federal programs but whose benefits are inadequate. There are several key areas where these programs and the states that administer them can more effectively address food insecurity.

Improving participation rates among individuals eligible for federal programs like SNAP could help to further reduce food insecurity. Policymakers and administrators could expand the current reach of these programs, especially in rural and remote communities, by improving program access, streamlining requirements for providers and applications for individuals, and supporting innovative delivery models. Summer food programs in particular could benefit from alternative models such as delivering meals to low-income neighborhoods rather than requiring families to find transportation to a summer site, or allowing families to pick up a week’s worth of meals to eat at home rather than requiring children to travel to the site each day.

State governments can do more to ensure vulnerable populations have access to SNAP. Restrictive time limits on those willing to work but unable to find sufficient employment can prevent people in need from receiving SNAP benefits. States should provide able-bodied adults access to training, job placement and volunteer programs, so that they can avoid onerous time limits on the length of time they are allowed to receive SNAP. This will help states ensure that their programs are effectively reaching people in need.

Outside of the support provided through federal programs, Feeding America food banks across the country are also critical sources of food assistance for struggling families. Reducing barriers to donations can help provide excess food to families in need instead of letting it go to waste.

The Map the Meal Gap studies are intended to shed light on the issue of food insecurity as a problem facing communities across the country and our society as a whole. Ensuring that food-insecure people have access to adequate and nutritious food may help reduce their risk of developing associated physical and mental health issues, and also improve the strength of the broader community. When people are provided with the social support they need to thrive, everyone benefits. It is our hope that food banks, partner agencies, policymakers, business leaders, community activists and concerned citizens will use this data in their efforts towards ending hunger in America.

Seattle Pi Reports Food Insecurity across King County

Reprint of Seattle PI article:

Hungry families: Seattle communities ranked by food insecurity

Published 6:10 pm, Monday, April 3, 2017


 Blog 4.5.17Photo Credit: Seattle PI

It might seem like a set up for a punchline, the starving American. Unsated hunger is not what this country is known for these days.

And yet about 1-in-8 Washington residents has gone hungry in the past year for lack of food and money.

The situation is better in the Seattle area, but only slightly. About 12 percent of King County residents report experiencing “food insecurity” – having run out of food and not been able to buy more. That’s just a percentage point below the state average. 

Check out the gallery above (at this link) for a look at how King County communities compare, according to statistics compiled by Public Health – Seattle & King County.


St. Jude and Eastside Senior Citizens provide for Pantry Packs and LWSD Homeless Students

Reprint of Article as Published by the Redmond Reporter: 


Redmond Reporter 

St Jude 2.27.17

From left, Fairwinds Redmond resident Cynthia Zerbe, activity director Randee Young and residents Penny Niemela

and Char Vasilatos with Needs Kits they assembled with hygiene items to be distributed to homeless students of the

Lake Washington School District. Courtesy photo credit: Redmond Reporter

St. Jude-led Service Day Program helps fight poverty

  Fri Feb 24th, 2017 9:30am

As poverty becomes more prevalent and visible throughout the greater Puget Sound area, members of St. Jude Catholic Church in Redmond are working to increase awareness and educate others.

For seven years, the church has had a Service Day Program with the mission of bringing organizations and volunteers together to help people living in Eastside communities who are experiencing the effect of poverty, loss of employment and abuse.

The goal of the program is to teach adults and children at St. Jude about the importance of helping others.

The service day is overseen by Sister Betty Schumacher, Joanne Cunningham as program coordinator and Molly Boll in fundraising.

This year’s day is scheduled for March 25. On this day, families from St. Jude will participate in a number of service projects.

The first project is assembling Pantry Packs. These are bags of food that are distributed to local schools through Hopelink, a nonprofit organization that focuses on serving homeless and low-income families, children, seniors and people with disabilities in north and east King County. The packs go to children who need food on the weekends as they may not have access to food like they do during the week through federal programs at school.

Families will also assemble Needs Kits with hygiene products that will go to homeless students in the Lake Washington School District. Kits will also go to the New Bethlehem Project,a day center in Kirkland for families experiencing homelessness on the Eastside, as well as LifeWire, a nonprofit whose mission is to end domestic violence.

Each pack or kit will also contain a motivational card made and decorated by children of the church.

In addition, 100 sack lunches will be made for Camp Unity Eastside, which is currently staying at St. Jude, and Operation Nightwatch in Seattle.

Participants will also assemble and decorate 100 small flower pots and plant flowers in them. The flower pots will be delivered to local nursing homes.

The final service projects will be yard work, house work and maintenance projects at the Friendly Village — a 55-and-older mobile home community in Redmond — yard work and cleaning at St. Jude and donating food products to the Holy Family Parish Food Bank.

“It’s all done on this one day,” Boll said.

In addition to teaching the importance of helping others, Boll said another goal of the service day is to teach young children and teens to have empathy for those who are less fortunate and for them to have hands-on experience helping.

“It doesn’t work to have a ‘me, me’ society,” Boll said.

Since its inception, the service day has involved just members of St. Jude. But this year, the program has expanded to include senior living communities throughout the Eastside.

Boll said they wanted to get the elderly involved and have older people and younger people doing something together.

The senior living communities participating in this year’s service day are Emerald Heights and Fairwinds in Redmond; Fairwinds Brittany Park in Woodinville; Brookdale, Merrill Gardens and Madison House in Kirkland; and the Sunrise communities in Bellevue, Bothell and Northgate.

While St. Jude parishioners will do all of the service work on March 25, Boll said residents in these communities have been donating and assembling Pantry Packs and Needs Kits all month. In addition, they are also decorating motivational cards to be included in each pack or kit.

Boll said people don’t always pay attention to those living in poverty. The motivational cards are a way to show recipients that they are not being ignored.

If people wish to contribute financially, they can mail checks before March 19 to St. Jude Parish, 10526 166th Ave. N.E., Redmond, WA 98052. Checks should also be marked for Service Day.


West Woodland Neighborhood Reports: Ballard's Weekend Food for Kids program gets a Boost from Local School's PTA

It's a win, win for Ballard Food Bank and their Weekend Food for Kids program Feed Washington helps to fund for 129 kids across 8 Ballard schools! The West Woodland Neighborhood in Ballard put out this newsletter article (below) highlighting the West Woodland Elementary PTA's decision to partner with Ballard Food Bank (BFB). BFB not only supports the community at large, but also funds and runs their Weekend Food for Kids program, so support for the BFB is also a win for the Weekend Kids' program!

We applaud any effort a school makes to support their own students in need of a little help. This makes fundraising and food drives so much more meaningful for the participants and greatly encourages participation. So, have a look at this short but informative article about neighbors helping neighbors in Ballard.

And if you'd like to support the Ballard schools, including West Woodland Elementary, through Feed Washington, we would love to invite you to join us in helping to fund the program so no child has to go hungry over the weekend in Ballard. 100% of your donations to Feed Washington go directly to BFB for their Weekend Food for Kids' program each month.


Reprint of Article as published by West Woodland Neighborhood Newsletter:

West Woodland Elementary PTA Partners with Ballard Food Bank

Blog 2.10.17Photo Credit: Sue Pierce

On Tuesday, January 24, West Woodland Elementary Parent Teacher Association (PTA) announced a partnership between West Woodland Elementary School and the Ballard Food Bank.

Neighbors who are interested in participating in the partnership are encouraged to drop-off donation items at the schools front office, 5601 4th Ave NW.  A list of requested items is in the statement below.  Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions.

Statement from the West Woodland Elementary PTA:

“As this cold winter rolls through the needs of our neighbors continue to rise. Ballard Food Bank distributes food to over 1,200 individuals per week. They also provide weekend food for over 200 kids in our public schools in the Ballard, Magnolia and Queen Anne zip codes. The mission of the food bank is to provide food and hope for our neighbors because there can be enough for everyone. Often clients who are homeless (19%), seniors/older adults (26%) and children (18%) need help making ends meet.

Many families at West Woodland express interest in opportunities to keep their children engaged in community service, and we hope this will be an especially meaningful way for our families and students to get involved with a well respected organization providing for our neighbors. We will host winter and spring drives that kids can lead and help to make successful.

As a part of our West Woodland Social initiatives, we will be SPREADING THE LOVE with an all-school community service social on Monday, February 13th at 6:30pm to kick off this partnership. All students, siblings and families are encouraged to come to the school that evening to work together creating kits from the items donated to give to the food bank. We hope it will be a great opportunity not only to give to our neighbors but also to get to know other families within our school community!

Starting January 23rd , we will be collecting items for a Winter Preparedness Kit. Please considering donating some of the following items to help out with our efforts…

Winter Preparedness Kit
Hand Warmers
Emergency Blanket (mylar)

You can drop off donated items in the large marked boxes conveniently located around the school. Boxes are located upstairs – in front of the front office, downstairs – by the library and choir room and downstairs – in the hallway leading to the middle doors to the playground.

Our PTA, teachers, administration and Ballard Food Bank staff are so excited for this opportunity to get our community involved in reaching out and supporting our neighbors in need."

Thank you for your support!
Best regards,
Ashley Wilson Oster and Carrie Schneider”

A Note from our President: 2016 Yearly Report to Donors

Feed Washington Donors,


Since our inception in 2003, and because of your generosity, we have distributed a grand total of $368,323, providing 730,758 meals to hungry children in our state! We are grateful for your continued support, as we couldn’t have done this without you.


2016 was an incredible year for Feed Washington as we focused our attention on providing weekend food packs to hungry children in Ballard schools and in the Lake Washington School District (LWSD) via our partner charities Ballard Food Bank and Hopelink Pantry Packs.


Weekend food for kids resizedIn Ballard schools, the number of students receiving packs from the Ballard Food Bank's Weekend Food for Kids program rose from an average of 76 students during the 2015-16 school year to an average of 129 in 2016-17. Feed Washington continues to provide ongoing monthly support for this program, and since 2015, we have distributed a total of $43,300 directly to the program, enough to provide approximately 4,800 weekend food packs to the hungry kids in Ballard.


IMS Fairn the LWSD, we continue to be a major funding partner to Hopelink Pantry Packs' weekend food program which serves 740+ kids per week. You wouldn’t think the child hunger problem would be this severe in one of the most affluent communities in the nation but, with 315 homeless students in the district, the problem is real.


Our goal is to fund the LWSD Pantry Packs program with a monthly, recurring donation stream of $10,000. We’re proud to report that since starting our efforts in the LWSD in October 2015 we have generated $115,292 for the program. This equates to 82% of our funding goal. 


Our most memorable story from this year comes from a donor who works at Microsoft and rallied his entire department to raise over $23,000 for the kids of the LWSD! Feed Washington was thrilled to write that much needed check to the Hopelink Pantry Packs program in December.


On behalf of Feed Washington, and the hungry kids we serve, THANK YOU again for your generous support. Here’s to a prosperous 2017 as we press on together to end childhood hunger in our communities!


With Appreciation,


Eirik Olsen
President  |  Feed Washington

Redmond High School - Pantry Packs and gift card/food drive helps their students in need

This is a repost of an amazing letter that went out to Redmond High School (RHS) families on 12/14/2016 from the school principal regarding the community response to benefit their own students in need. RHS is part of the Lake Washington School District (LWSD) served by the Hopelink Pantry Packs program to whom Feed Washington provides funding.
 Dear RHS Families:
In the eleven years I have had the pleasure and good fortune to serve as your Principal, I have frequently been astounded by the incredible generosity and compassion shown by our community. It is, however, a somewhat unusual experience for me to be having to pass out Kleenex, not only to mop up my own tears, but to do so to assist our counselors, administrators and office staff with their own repairs. We who have been able to witness the caring of our families first hand this December have been literally struck speechless (a rare occurrence for some of us) and moved to those tears as gift card after gift card came through the door in response to our request for help for families in need.
At the time of this message, we have been given 570 gift cards in denominations ranging from $10.00 to $50.00, for a total of $14,250!!! We are going to be able to give cards to every student who received Pantry Packs, every student who participated in Operation School Bell this last fall, and every other student who we know is in need, including a homeless student we admitted just yesterday. And we will be able to reserve some cards for use throughout the rest of the school year, as we know we will need them.
In addition, and because I know that many of these items came from your kitchen shelves, not directly from the grocery store, I am pleased to tell you that the National Honor Society food drive was a huge success! Mr. Neff’s class was the winner with 425 items donated, but many classes donated 100 or more items, with a total collected in the 1,000’s. The food donated will be used for RHS students and their families during this season and beyond.
From the bottom of our hearts, the Redmond High School PTSA and the Redmond High School staff thank you for caring so much, and for helping us to help all students have what they need to be successful in school. May you and your families enjoy a restful, restoring and peaceful vacation!
Jane Todd
Redmond High School Principal

Donors, Thank you for an amazing 2016!

Blog 2016 Thank you

Feed Washington would like to THANK all our 2016 donors who gave a total of $101,563 this year to provide weekend food packs to kids in Ballard schools and in the Lake WA School District!! And a BIG thank you to our partners Ballard Food Bank and Hopelink Pantry Packs for doing the hard work of packing and distributing the packs each week! Let's keep it going in 2017!!

Numbers Rise to 730+ Kids Served per Week in the LWSD & a Campaign Update

MS Fair

Feed Washington's annual fall campaign to raise funds to provide weekend food packs for hungry kids in the Lake Washington School District saw new challenges and new successes this year. 

The BIGGEST success is our campaign total. Since we began our efforts within the LWSD during the 2015-16 school year, with two campaigns to date, we've been able to distribute a Grand Total of $115,296 to the Hopelink Pantry Packs program! That's enough funds for over 23,000 weekend food packs to the kids of the LWSD.
This year, our campaign focusing first on Microsoft employees, and then the community-at-large, raised $51,282 (so far) of that grand total! And although we set an ambitious goal of $120,000 to fully fund the program for the 2016-17 school year alone, we're so thrilled that a small, grass-roots organization like ours was able to rally so much local support. However, with the numbers of kids in need of food on the rise, we will continue our efforts until the goal is met.

Challenges of Rising Numbers

Shortly after the school year began, our food distribution partner, Hopelink Pantry Packs, saw a dramatic increase in the number of students identified as being in need of weekly, weekend food packs.

With an already large rise from 450 to 650 students during the 2015-16 school year, we were hopeful the number of hungry kids would stabilize at 650 for the 2016-17 school year. However, by October, Pantry Packs saw numbers swell to an all-time high of 730 kids served per week! That's over 2,900 food packs distributed per month to students in Redmond, Kirkland and Sammamish. While happy to serve each and every child, Pantry Packs' resources were being stretched like never before, so Feed Washington quickly increased its campaign goal to help with funding.

Successes in Meeting the Need

Food drives, large food donations, and bulk food purchasing power have been significant in helping to meet the need thus far, but the need for increased funding is even more vital to the future of the program.  At a cost of around $10,000 per month for the packs, Feed Washington has had to become strategic and focused in our fundraising efforts. We therefore chose to focus a large part of our campaign on Microsoft's Giving Month (October) because of Microsoft's location within the LWSD and their 100% company match program. The match program would give us a unique opportunity to double every donation received and maximize our efforts.

Feed Washington attended 3 Microsoft events in October and we are very pleased to report that, to date, $37,036 has been raised through Microsoft donors. Most notably, one very generous, returning donor mobilized his entire department to get behind the campaign, and together they contributed over $23,000 in one afternoon event! We can't thank him and his crew enough for being the cornerstone of the Microsoft campaign, because without their efforts, this kind of success would not have been possible.

We also reached out to our non-Microsoft community donors, both past and current, asking them to step up and either renew or continue their donation to the LWSD through Feed Washington. They too gave in a BIG way and brought in the remaining $14,248 through both one-time and monthly donations. Many of these donors have remained faithful to the campaign since last year and some are new donors, but without this base of support, Feed Washington could not make such a consistent impact.

Even with $51,282 raised so far this year, and $115,296 since 2015, we're not stopping until the we've secured enough funding for the entire 2016-17 school year. So, what's next?

Plans for Reaching the Goal

Since the Microsoft campaign ended, we moved on to local businesses. After contacting One Redmond - the local chamber of commerce, economic development, and community development organization in one  - Feed Washington was fortunate to be chosen as their charity of choice for their Holiday Community Connections Premier Networking event in November. Our participation in this event enabled us to get exposure to many local business owners, as well as donations. We are confident these connections will continue to be a valuable resource for funding the Pantry Packs program for a long time to come. 

We are also working, in cooperation with Hopelink Pantry Packs, to plan a follow-up campaign at the school level within the LWSD in the Spring of 2017. Our goal will be to raise enough awareness and support for the program so the non-hungry will support all the hungry within their own school. Supporters from each school essentially feeding their own could go a long way in promoting community within each school and provide long-term funding accountability. Stay tuned...

MANY THANKS to all who have volunteered, donated, shared and supported our efforts to fund the LWSD kids campaign so no kid has to go hungry in our local community!


Did you know, There are 650 Hungry Kids in Microsoft's Backyard?

Feed Washington is counting on Microsoft employees to give BIG to feed 650 hungry kids in their own "Backyard" - otherwise known as the Lake Washington School District, with schools surrounding Microsoft's Redmond campus.


Each year, in October, hundreds of nonprofits descend upon the Microsoft Redmond campus with booths and displays as part of a companywide push to get Microsoft employees to give to charities during Microsoft's Employee Giving Month. This year, Feed Washington will be on campus October 10th and October 20th with a campaign hitting very close to home.


Feed Washington's campaign announcing, "There are 650 Hungry Kids in Microsoft's Backyard" is to provide weekend food packs to kids at LWSD schools in Redmond, Kirkland and Sammammish, just minutes from Microsoft. Weekend food packs, combined with federal meal programs students already receive at school during the week, will provide food to these kids 7 days a week, so Microsoft would effectively be putting an end to child hunger in their own neighborhood. 


With Microsoft's 100% matching program, Feed Washington needs just 225 Microsoft employees to donate $20 per month at Microsoft's internal giving portal (http://give) to reach our $9,000 a month goal. This donation stream of $9,000 per month, $108,000 for the year, will fully fund the program and provide weekly food packs to the kids of the LWSD for the entire 2016-17 school year.


MS Map 02


"We have no doubt that when Microsoft employees learn they pass by 650 hungry children at neighborhood schools every day on their way to work, they will want to give and be part of the solution,” said Feed Washington President, Eirik Olsen. “These kids often struggle in school because they aren’t properly fed. We can’t let this happen in one of the most affluent communities in the nation,” says Olsen.


Last October, Feed Washington ran a community-based, social media campaign generating nearly $65,000. Along with our partner, Hopelink Pantry Packs, these funds helped to provide an average of 2,500 weekend packs per month,19,000 for the year, to kids in the LWSD during the 2015-16 school year.  To help us reach our goal this year, please donate and share this campaign with anyone you know affiliated with Microsoft.


Please note: although donations from community members not affiliated with Microsoft will not be matched, community members are still strongly encouraged to support and donate to the campaign here on our website.


Check back here or on our Facebook page for updates on the campaign throughout October!

Pass the Plate - September is Hunger Action Month

Pass the plate, the empty plate! By now most everyone has seen all those nifty food videos circulating around the internet, most specifically engineered for Facebook. With a melo-dramatic instrumental playing in the background, they somehow mesmerize you into watching a sped-up version of a recipe being made with food as the only star of the show. Maybe it's so appealing because it speaks to our daily need for tasty (pun intended) sustenance. But it's also assuming you're not one of the 48 million Americans, including 15 million children, who actually might be facing an empty plate tonight instead.

Feeding America masterfully confronts the empty plate with an impactful and clever parody of these videos, a la Tasty-style (below). The video was created to promote September as Hunger Action Month asking everyone in America to take action and fight hunger in their community all month long. Feeding America states, "Whether it’s by advocating and raising awareness, volunteering or donating, you can find the way that’s right for you to make a difference during Hunger Action Month. Together, we can solve hunger."

"On an empty stomach, I can't __________."

ham 2016 plate selfie hashtagA simple way to raise awareness and spread the word is to literally Pass the Plate. Just finish the sentence, "On an empty stomach, I can't _________."  Write it on a plate, take a selfie, and post to your social media channels with #HungerActionMonth. Or use this interactive facebook link to Pass the Plate electronically. Many celebrities, organizations, and businesses are participating and sharing their pics and you can too! It’s that easy to help raise awareness for the 1 in 7 people who struggle with hunger across America.

To join us in the fight against childhood hunger in our local communities, please consider making a one-time or recurring donation to Feed Washington. With school back in full swing this month, so are our backback programs delivering weekend food packs to kids at schools every Friday in Ballard and the Lake Washington School District - approximately 2800 packs per month costing nearly $12,000! But with Feed Washington, your dollars are part of a solution, not a bandaid. Weekend food packs, combined with the federal meal program students already receive at school during the week, means kids have the food they need 7 days a week, effectively putting an end to childhood hunger in these communities! Thank you!

Coming to School Hungry, Educators speak about hunger in the classroom

"Everyday teachers, principals and staff in schools across the country see children who can't succeed because of hunger. No Kid Hungry set out to learn more through a national survey of educators and a series of focus groups. Our research confirms child hunger is an education issue, one that not only threatens our kids, but our future." This is a quote from Hunger in our Schools, a national research project by the national organization No Kid Hungry. The study gives a compelling inside look at how kids coming to school hungry effects their ability to learn, but better yet, it gives a Real SOLUTION. Yeessss!

Feed Washington is a solution-based organization, so we love to champion projects effecting real change. When Hunger in our Schools identified an increasing number of kids showing up to the classroom hungry, in spite of 94% of schools offering a free breakfast program, their focus quickly became identifying and solving the barriers to kids taking advantage of those very programs.

Is Breakfast the solution?

The changes: Take breakfast out of the cafeteria and instead, serve it in the classroom or as a grab-n-go on the way to the classroom; change breakfast time from before school to the the first 10-15 minutes of the regular school day; make breakfast available to all students who want it, saving those in need the emabarrassment of being singled out.

The means: Reorganize school resources to reflect these changes using the money already allocated for the current breakfast program.

Brilliant! But does it work?

Real Results for Kids

The result: Since 2014, one million more kids in America are eating school breakfast through new in-classroom breakfast programs. 75% of educators with breakfast in the classroom say that the program has been positive for students. 73% saw an improvement in alertness during morning lessons. Elementary school teacher, Margot Shaver, says, "This is the first year we've had a free breakfast program [in the classroom] for all students. Not only are we feeding their physical needs, we're feeding their emotional needs. The light turns on; they're able to function in the classroom."

Real solutions, real change, real results for child hunger - bravo!

From No Kid Hungry on Vimeo.

To watch more videos of the teachers, principals and staff, see the full Hunger in Our Schools story here.

To join Feed Washington's efforts to effect real change in your community, please see our current campaign page here or click on the box at the right of this page. Thank you from Feed Washington - solving childhood hunger one neighborhood, one schoool, one child at a time.


Food Insecurity - Child Hunger is an Everyday Struggle

Jennifer, single mother of two, works 40 hours+ each week, but with daycare and other household expenses, she struggles to have enough left over from each paycheck for food - usually just $50-100 per month.  Her eldest daughter, 8-year-old Ashley, says, "I'm like hungry when it's bedtime but I never ask because I always know we need food for the next day."  Food insecurity is causing Ashley to grow up with grown-up concerns instead of just being a kid.
The Working Class Poor
Jennifer's story, highlighted in the video below, is part of the three-part series, Child Hunger Ends Here, with Al Roker and Natalie Morales.  It chronicles how Jennifer is becoming part of a growing class in America known as the working class poor - those who cannot afford their basic living expenses, in spite of working full-time.  Listen closely and you'll hear a pervasive sense of shame in her voice when commenting about not being able to provide enough food for her family.  Even though Jennifer, Ashley, and Elizabeth have nothing to be ashamed of, they clearly still feel pain. This pain of social stigma is why Feed Washington cannot bring you names and faces of the kids served by our backpack programs; the risk is just too costly. But, helping them is not.

A Reason to Care
Ten million children under the age of 6 are food insecure in America today, 300,000 in Washington state, and there's actually a pretty compelling reason why you should care - children are our future.  Literally.  An FDA official addresses the issue saying,
"You know, it's important for folks to understand it just can't be the government. The government is part of the solution but it by no means is all of the solution - whether it's the federal, state or local government. Individuals have an opportunity to help. It's not just the charitable thing to do. It's not just the morally right thing to do. It just is economically the right thing to do, because if we have well-educated, strong, healthy, smart kids, we're gonna be able to win in the future. We're gonna be able to compete successfully in this global economy."

Excercise your reason to care by joining Feed Washington in being part of the solution for the children in our local communities. We currently fund weekend food for kids programs in Ballard and the communties of Kirkland, Redmond and Sammamish served by the Lake Washington School District on an ongoing, monthly basis.  With your one-time or recurring donations, together we are truly - solving childhood hunger one neighborhood, one school, one child at a time.



Children answer, What Does it Mean to be Hungry?

Out of the mouth of babes - What does it mean to be hungry? What does hunger feel like? These are the questions No Kid Hungry asked of the kids in this short video.

 Here at Feed Washington we think about it like this: with childhood hunger, we have a tremendous opportunity that doesn’t exist with most other societal ills - we don’t have to come up with a cure, invent something, or debate whether or not feeding kids is a good idea. Let’s not hope someone else does it, wait for our politicians to find the will to do it, or ignore it and hope it goes away. Let’s solve childhood hunger, now, and then put our collective attention to the next, most vulnerable group that needs our help.

As we move into the month of August, school will soon be back in session and the backpacks programs we support in Ballard and the Lake Washington School District will be fully operational again. Feed Washington hopes to provide 100% of the funding needed for the 2016-17 school year to provide weekend food packs to the 700+ hungry kids all year long.  We're working hard to plan our annual October campaign to fully fund the LWSD with a $10,000 recurring, monthly donation stream. Then, we hope to move on to expanding our Ballard program.

Feed Washington - solving childhood hunger one neighborhood, one school, one child at a time


King 5 report Gives Inside Look at Backpack Program

In case you missed it, this King 5 report gives an inside look at a weekend Backback Program at Seattle's Bryant Elementary School. The two Backpack Programs Feed Washington supports, Ballard Food Bank and Hopelink Pantry Packs, mobilize volunteers for packing parties just like this to pack weekends packs to distribute to a combined 722 students each month! And, this year, Ballard Food Bank expanded its program to include the summer months. Together, we're making a real, tangible difference in the fight against childhood hunger right here in our own communities.

"What are we going to feed our children now, so we have a stronger America in the future?"

SNAP Increase BlogYikes! Could you feed your family healthy food for $1.40 per person, per meal? In Washington state, this is the current amount the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) assumes a family can get by on.  This short article from the Public New Service cites recent research showing that an increase of just $30 per person, per month would help families prepare more meals at home, providing long-term gains for children.

Summer Meals Program Picks Up Where School Meal Programs Leave Off

Find WA State Summer Meals.jpegNow that school is out for the summer, a few concerned donors have asked what the kids involved in our school-integrated backpack programs will do for food this summer now that they are not receiving Free/Reduced Meals or weekend food packs at school. While some local food relief agencies, like Ballard Food Bank, partner within the community to provide summer food for kids, The Washington State Summer Food Service Program also provides free meals to kids.

The WA Summer Food Service Program picks up where school meal programs leave off in June, providing free meals and snacks to kids age 18 and under all summer long.  All kids are welcome, and some sites even allow adults to purchase a meal, at a very low cost, as well.  There are NO forms to fill out. NO proof of income, address or citizenship is ever required. Children literally just show up at the specified place and time and they get a free meal or snack. There's even a handy Resource Finder where you input your zip code and get a list of the places nearest you to get a free meal, dates and times of service provided. There are summer meal sites listed in the Juanita area of Kirkland, Bellevue, Issaquah, Seattle-Ballard and many more...

No food insecure child should have to go hungry in Washington state, no matter the time of year, and thanks to programs like these, they don't have to. Thank you to all of our donors who give to help the hungry kids right in your local area. With the Feed Washington model of one neighborhood, one school, one child at a time, you are truly helping your very own neighbors!

"We were at Whole Foods. Now we're at the food bank..."

Ever heard the mantra, "There but for the grace of God, go I"?  It is never truer than in the lives of the family depicted in this short video by Feeding America. 

Nikki and Bill represent how so many families end up needing a helping hand with food. Good jobs, retirement, savings - they had it all. They were even involved with volunteers at the local food bank. People just like you, just like me. 

Then, a few unfortunate events occur one after the other and suddenly, they find themselves the one in need instead of filling the need for others. It can happen to anyone.

Many of the children Feed Washington provides the funds to help are from families in situations just like this. It's our mission to see the non-hungry adults in our communities provide for the hungry children who can't provide for themselves. Thank you to so many who are helping us do this important work!


With backpack program, food banks help kids lift themselves out of hunger

Backpack Blog ArticleThis article describes how the Backpack Program model works, much like it does for the 72 children in Ballard schools and 650 (and growing!) children in Lake Washington School District we provide funds to support. When Feed Washington refocused its approach, in the fall of 2014, to meet the needs of one neighborhood, one school, one child at a time - the Backpack Programs through Ballard Food Bank and later, Hopelink Pantry Packs were growing fast and in demand.

The article mentions how other Seattle neighborhoods  "...hope to expand them (the backpack programs) to more schools,"  and that's exactly what we did! Ballard support started in 2014 and Lake Washington School District (LWSD) support started in 2015. We raise the funds, designate them specifically to the backpack programs and the professionals at the food banks mobilize volunteers to get the food into all those backpacks at schools!

Now, in 2016, we continue to be able to provide this vital funding in Ballard due to our faithful, recurring donors. The same is true for LWSD, but since the need is greater (read the 2015-16 School Year Hopelink Pantry Pack report here) we will still need more recurring donors to continue to serve the estimated 650+ students identified as needing weekend food packs for the 2016-17 school year. 

We will be working hard this summer to get ready for another campaign in the fall 2016 to ensure we have all the needed funding secured so all the LWSD students who need weekly, weekend food are able to get it. We'll be posting updates here on our site and on our Facebook page.

If you'd like to donate now, you can still do so on our current campaign page here.



LWSD Educator, "She told me...she doesn't have very much food at home."

We love hearing stories from the true heroes on the "Frontlines" of LWSD about how the Pantry Packs program we help fund is making a real difference in a student's life! Thank you Feed Washington donors for making moments like these possible!

This note was originially shared by Hopelink Pantry Packs on their Facebook page:

A Note from a LWSD Staff Member about Pantry Packs:

Every week when one of my students receives her pantry pack, she is both surprised and excited. On Friday she told me that it was so great to get this food because she does not have very much food at home. A little later, she opened the bag and saw a can of either soup or beans (can't remember which one) and ran up to me so happy because she could not believe someone knew it was her favorite.

I just want to thank everyone involved with the pantry packs. I keep tearing up when I think about how happy it is making my student. What all of the volunteers are doing is amazing.

Why the Poor Pay More for Toilet Paper & Just About Everything Else

TP Blog PhotoWait, why are we talking about toilet paper on a child hunger blog? Read this article to find out why tracking, yes, toilet paper purchases, gives us the "Bottom Line" as to why so many hard-working families have a hard time affording the basics, like food, for their children. Spending more for less is a vicious cycle. Feed Washington is working to help families break that cylce by providing some food relief to kids from families just like these.



Our Viral Campaign to Feed 450+ hungry kids in LWSD is Live!

Our viral fundraising campaign, in collaboration with Hopelink Pantry Packs, benefiting the 450+ hungry kids of the Lake Washington School District is now live!

Is it possible that we can reach our 10 day goal of creating a $10,000 monthly, recurring donation stream on the first day of the campaign? Let’s make this video go viral and find out!

Thanks, everyone!


Viral Campaign to Feed the 450+ hungry kids in the LWSD

Tomorrow is day #1 of an exciting 10 day viral campaign where Feed Washington (with your support!) will create a $10,000 monthly, recurring donation stream to feed, on an ongoing basis, the 450+ hungry kids in the Lake Washington School District. Stay tuned for the powerful and emotional video which will go live tomorrow at:        ‪#‎solvestudenthunger‬      ‪#‎lwsd      ‬ ‪#‎feedwa

Can we end hunger, worldwide, by 2030?

Here is the United Nations' plan for making that happen:

The answer is, yes, we can end hunger, worldwide, by 2030, but let's take care of the hungry kids in our local communities first.


Our program in Ballard, WA, which feeds the 72 hungry children in the Ballard schools, is now fully funded

A big thank you to everyone that supported our initiative to create a recurring donation stream in an amount sufficient to feed the 72 kids in the Ballard schools who are hungry. We did it! We blew past the $1,850 goal and have generated a $2,036 recurring donation stream. Not only have we reached our goal, we have also proven the concept that significant societal issues can actually be solved by grassroots, community-based efforts. Thanks everyone!

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A Letter to the People of Ballard from Our Founder


If you grew up in Ballard, or have connections to Ballard, I need your help. 72 children in the eight public schools of Ballard are hungry. These are kids from Adams, Whittier, Loyal Heights, West Woodland, Salmon Bay, North Beach, Whitman and Ballard High. These are not nameless, faceless children; these are 72 kids from our community who have either self-identified as being hungry, or have been identified as hungry by school counselors.

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Bicycle-powered Food Recovery

Can an initiative by Boulder Food Rescue in Boulder, Colorado also work in Washington State?

Here is how Boulder Food Rescue explains what they do:

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Actually Solving Childhood Hunger

I am excited to announce that Feed Washington recently reached the milestone of having generated over 500,000 meals for the hungry kids in our state. While I’m proud of this accomplishment, there is still work to be done to reach the end goal of actually solving childhood hunger. Over the years of running Feed Washington, I have learned much about hunger, its connection to other societal problems we face, and the truth regarding how it’s going to be solved. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and conclusions with you here.

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Feed Washington is Solving Childhood Hunger in Ballard! (and we're coming to your community next!)

Feed Washington is simplifying things and taking a direct route to ending childhood hunger in our state. We're going community by community and school by school, finding the hungry kids in each school, and then creating a recurring donation stream to make sure they have enough to eat every day. Our first stop: Ballard, Washington.

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Freeganism and Food Waste

"Freegan" is a derivation of ‘vegan’ that’s used to describe people who prefer to forage or dumpster dive for their food. While we'll never feed our state's kids out a dumpster, this article (Warning: the article includes some colorful language). ( does a great job of stating just how much food we waste on a local and global basis. Could we solve childhood hunger just by limiting our food waste?

The Face of Hunger in Washington State in 2013

For many of us, the visual that comes to mind when we think of what hunger looks like, are the pictures that came out of Ethiopia during the famine of the mid-1980's. Those pictures of starving children were dramatic and powerful enough to cause a visceral reaction in each of us, even though we were thousands of miles away. The face of hunger in our State today, admittedly, isn't as provocative as pictures of children with protruding bellies and sunken eyes. Hunger in Washington State in 2013, in fact, looks more like this.

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Hungry Children Get Cold Too

Cold weather is here. As I put on my coat this morning and got ready to face the chill outside, it hit me – hungry families that can’t afford food probably can’t afford warm coats for their children either.

And that means that the 440,000 hungry children in Washington State are also in danger of going cold this winter. Although we don’t instantly make the connection, it makes sense that these two problems overlap.

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Summer: The Peak Season for Childhood Hunger

According to the Seattle Public School Schedule, June 22 is the last day of school. It will also be the last day that nearly 1 in 4 children in Washington State will receive a school breakfast and lunch – their only regular meals. That means that instead of enjoying their summer vacation, almost 25% of the children in our own backyard risk going to bed hungry each night. Deprived of regular meals, these children face a summer of eating what they can, when they can and wondering when their next meal will be. That’s no way for any child to spend a summer. Yes, June 22 is several weeks away, but now’s the time to get proactive about helping to end summer hunger.

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Why Dumpster Diving Won’t Work and What We Can Do About It

As I cleaned out my refrigerator last night, I thought about the recent documentary “Dumpster Diving to Solve Hunger.”

In this segment, HLN news anchor Jane Velez-Mitchel proposes dumpster diving as a viable answer to feeding our nation’s hungry population. Accompanied by a self-proclaimed “freegan,” Velez-Mitchel even demonstrates how to dumpster dive for food and put together a tasty, wholesome meal.

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Feeding Hungry Children: It’s time to GiveBIG

Great news…FeedWashington is participating in the Seattle Foundation’s annual GiveBIG event on May 2, 2012!

An exciting, one-day, online charitable giving event, the Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG is designed to raise money for more than 1,200 non-profit organizations.  And FeedWashington is pleased to participate.

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Make a Resolution to Help End Childhood Hunger

While most people commit to making a fresh start in the New Year, too many hungry children in Washington will still go to bed with an empty stomach.

Economic uncertainty and the rising cost of living have more and more families facing food insecurity. Many of these families are just barely ineligible for Washington State’s Basic Food Program (food stamps), yet they still struggle to put food on the table.  And of those that do qualify, approximately 1/3 won’t take advantage of it, often because they either don’t know they qualify or because the assistance amount itself is so low (the average is only $1.04 per person per meal), they don’t see it being worth the social stigma.

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Childhood Hunger Continues to Rise - Help us Feed Children

Every parent knows that a hungry child is a disadvantaged child. Without proper nutrition he can’t grow and learn like other kids. She complains of headaches, stomachaches and other ailments. He can’t seem to get along with other kids or focus in school. Children who are poorly nourished suffer up to 160 days of illness each year. Poor nutrition plays a role in at least half of the 10.9 million child deaths each year-five million deaths.

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Summer Hunger

The economy has created some serious problems in many areas; none of those problems are as potentially devastating to the long-term health of our communities than childhood hunger.

More than 400,000 children in Washington go hungry every day. Nearly 1 in 4 children in Washington live in families that struggle to put food on the table on a regular basis. Many low-income parents skip meals so that their children can eat. At one Spokane food bank, 60% of parents said they skipped meals to give their children food.

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Government Sequestration: Hurting Hungry Children

Whatever your political stance, there’s little question that government sequestration will result in fewer resources to help our most vulnerable—hungry children.

As our government argues over $85 billion in budget cuts, the rest of us hold our collective breath waiting for the fallout. Particularly low-income families and food-insecure households. Why? Because public assistance programs that rely on government grants for the bulk of their revenue include:

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Feed Washington Distributes 71,788 Ounces of Formula to the Snohomish Community Food Bank!

When I started Feed Washington in 2003, a driving force was my desire to feed those who cannot feed themselves. Our most recent distribution of baby formula to the Snohomish Community Food Bank (SCFB), and its Food 2 Go program, is a perfect example of Feed Washington's mission. Food 2 Go provides food to homeless teens and their babies.

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Hunger Can Steal a Child's Future

Starvation affects more than children's immediate physical development - it impacts their future. Research has shown that hungry children develop behavioral problems and social disorders, particularly between the ages of 6 and 16.  Yet it's during these critical years that children develop the bulk of their social skills, emotional maturity and fundamental education. However, while hungry children are being held to the same standard as those who benefit from regular meals, they're not given the nutrition they need meet these even basic expectations.  Studies show that almost 20 percent of Washington children under the age of 18 live in poverty. (Food Research and Action Center). Instead of focusing on their schoolwork, they act out. Good grades and manners take a backseat to the fact that they don't where their next meal is coming from. And what many people perceive as behavioral problems may simply be lack of food. Recent studies also show that hungry children are: * More aggressive * Hyperactive * Less likely to get along with classmates * At greater risk of illnesses that require hospitalization They suffer from impaired cognitive functioning and diminished learning capacities, which means lower test scores and a limited chance of finishing their education much less going on to earn a degree. Skip lunch one day.  The next day, skip lunch and dinner.  Then imagine going without a decent meal at all, for several days. How well should you be expected to function? These are not bad children - they're hungry children in our own backyard.  And we all have the power to feed them.  Feed Washington is a true non-profit relief organization that's dedicated to feeding hungry children in Washington.  No matter how large or small your contribution, you can help us end childhood hunger in our State and give hungry Washington children a chance at a real future.

Join the Fight to End Hunger in Washington

September marks Hunger Action Month and national nonprofit Feeding America is calling upon individuals and communities to get involved in the fight against hunger. During the month of September, more than 200 food banks across the nation are asking people to lend a hand. A few of our local food banks involved are Food Lifeline and Second Harvest Inland Northwest. Local events are being planned throughout the month to help raise awareness about hunger in America and Feed Washington will be promoting local events so check back often to see how you can get involved. How Can You Help? - Write a letter to elected officials about hunger and the legislation that is important to you. - Organize a food drive at your office to donate to a local food bank - Send donations to food bank programs equipped to feed children and senior citizens As September gets closer Feed Washington will share ideas so that you can participate in the 30 Ways in 30 Days that you can help end hunger in Washington! Anxious to get started? - Follow us on Facebook and Twitter - Help your kids have a lemonade stand and donate funds to Feed Washington - Ask your favorite restaurant to donate one day’s sales to Feed Washington - Sign up to be a monthly donor at Feed Washington! Feed Washington believes it is the responsibility of all non-hungry adults in Washington to eradicate childhood hunger in our State. We ask those adults who aren’t hungry to commit to a small recurring credit card donation in an amount they won’t notice on their monthly credit card bill. Maybe for you it’s $1, $5 or $50. The individual amount doesn’t matter; it’s the collective impact that is important.

The Importance of Good Nutrition

In the first three years of a child’s life, good nutrition is essential in establishing and maintaining a foundation that has implications on a child’s future physical and mental health as well as academic achievement. Insufficient nutrition puts children at risk for illness and weakens their immune system. The immature immune systems of young children ages 0 – 5, make them especially vulnerable to nutritional deprivation and as a result, the ability to learn, grow, and fight infections is adversely affected. Without proper nutrition children are at risk for poor health and hospitalization. The lack of adequate nutrition affects the cognitive and behavioral development of children. These hungry children often suffer from irritability, fatigue and difficulty concentrating. The impact this has on a child’s health is astounding. Research shows that food insecurity is associated with the following: - grade repetition - absenteeism - tardiness - anxiety - aggression - poor mathematics scores - psychosocial dysfunction - difficulty with social interaction among 6 to 12 year old children - suicide and depressive disorders among 15 to 16 year old children Feed Washington is a relief organization in Washington that strives to end hunger in our state. Your charitable donations benefit hungry children in Washington. For more information and to get involved please consider a small monthly donation. The individual amount doesn’t matter; it’s the collective impact that is important.

Feed Washington Distributes $3,000 to the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery!

Thanks to your generosity, this summer has been a productive one in the fight against childhood hunger. To start, we've just donated $3,000 to the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery in Spokane, Washington. The Crisis Nursery was founded in 1987 in memory of Vanessa Behan, a two-year old girl who tragically died as the result of severe physical abuse, allegedly at the hands of her stepfather. Evidence of repeated abuse coupled with her stepfather being found innocent outraged the community and inspired the founding of the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery. Since its founding 25 years ago, the Crisis Nursery has served more than 60,000 at-risk children. Today, it takes in up to 3,500 children every year. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the Crisis Nursery offers 24-hour childcare, parent education, crisis counseling and referrals to specialized services for additional help. And, its recently launched H.O.P.E. program works to ensure that every family who contacts the Crisis Nursery gets help. Almost 100% of the Crisis Nursery’s funding comes from donations. And with our $3,000 donation, the Crisis Nursery will be able to buy formula and provide 3,960 meals for the youngest and most vulnerable of its hungry children, the infants. That’s 3,960 meals for hungry infants of at-risk families. All thanks to you. And there’s more good news on the way. In addition to helping the Crisis Nursery, we've been hard at work making sure your donations go where they’re needed to help feed hungry children in Washington. We couldn't do it without you. On behalf the Crisis Nursery and the families its serves, thank you. Let’s keep up the fight against childhood hunger!

Teaming Up to Feed Hungry Children in Washington

Hungry ChildrenFeed Washington Donors and Friends, Thanks to your generous support, we’ve just been able to donate more than $2,000 to the Southwest Boys & Girls Club, an organization committed to feeding the hungry children in its afterschool dinner program. Every weekday, the Club provides a warm, well-balanced dinner to between 80 and 100 hungry children, ages 5 to 18 years.  Over 80% of the Club’s attending children are on a free or reduced lunch plan when they’re in school.  However, during the summer months when school is out, it becomes even harder to make sure these children have more than one solid meal to count on each day. And as the Club serves one of the poorest neighborhoods in the Seattle area, the need is even greater.  That’s why the Club stretches its resources to also offer a nutritious breakfast of whole grain cereal and a fresh fruit during these leaner, more uncertain months. Here’s the good news.  For every $1 donated, the Club can generate a meal and a half, which means they’ll be able to turn the $2,000 donation into approximately 3,000 meals for children in need who would likely otherwise go without. Hungry Children in WashingtonJust think about it.  That’s 3,000 meals.  To those of you whose charitable donations made it possible – thank you. To those of you just joining the fight, it’s not too late to help end hunger for Washington children in need.  There are too many hungry children in our State, and we’re asking those adults who aren’t hungry to commit to a small recurring credit card donation in an amount they won’t even notice on their monthly bill.  Whether it’s $1, $5 or $50 - the individual amount doesn’t matter. It’s the collective impact of your charitable donations that’s important. Please join us.  Every penny goes towards feed hungry children. Donate today. Thanks again for your continued support! Eirik

Feed Washington

Feed Washington Donors and Friends, Thank you for visiting our new site and for your support of the cause. My plan is to use the blog to announce Feed Washington success stories and also to raise awareness of the reality and severity of the hunger problem in our state. To that end, I am thrilled to announce two recent Feed Washington success stories. Our recent donation of 40 cases of baby formula to the Providence Regina House Food Bank provided over 9,000, 6 ounce servings of baby formula to 450 families in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the Seattle area. Here is a picture of my daughter, Sofia, doing her best Vanna White with the formula. The formula was delivered to the Regina House on their Baby Cupboard Day (the 1st Saturday of every month) and was met with great appreciation as the baby formula cupboard was more or less empty. Our second distribution was to the Ballard and North Seattle Boys and Girls Clubs who received $3,000 from Feed Washington for their feeding program. Mark Hendricks, the Executive Director of both clubs, expects that he can create 9,000 meals with our $3,000. While the quantity of meals provided the clubs is nothing short of incredible, it is the involvement of the kids that makes this special. In Mark's words: "I spent the afternoon mowing the North Seattle ball field and spoke with two of our volunteer master gardeners.  They are working with our youth on planting all kinds of vegetables in the corner of the field and are excited about also doing a cooking class with a lot of the items that the kids are growing." Please take a moment and pause to consider the impact your donation is making on the lives of the children we just benefited. 9,000 servings of formula is a huge number, and we are just getting started! Thanks again for your continued support! Eirik

Feed Washington Distributes $2,300 to the North Seattle Boys and Girls Club!

Meet 6-year old Lyric. She first came to the North Seattle Boys and Girls Club with $3.75 in change in her pocket for a snack at the local grocery store.  Instead, Club staff gave her a banana and mini-bagel – a much healthier, more nutritious snack than anything she would’ve found in the candy aisle. Lyric is just one of many hungry children in Washington State.  And thanks to you, Feed Washington was just able to distribute $2,300 to help the North Seattle Boys and Girls Club reliably provide her and other hungry children with regular healthy meals. Ever wonder just how much of a difference your donation makes? Here’s the math: For every dollar, the Club can provide three nutritious meals. Which means… $1 = 3 meals $2,300 = 6,900 meals That’s almost 7,000 meals!  And to hungry children like Lyric, those are often the only healthy meals that they can depend on. Because of the neighborhood’s low income levels, many kids just eat fast food – hardly the type of food to nourish growing children.  But at the Club, more than 80 kids receive a healthy breakfast and snack.  And 20 teens even receive dinner. During the summer, Lyric went the Club’s all-day summer camp sometimes with just a sandwich.  But Club staff always made sure she had breakfast, lunch and snacks with fruits and vegetables.  Now, Lyric says that the Club gives her better food than she gets at home.  And, she even thinks of them as family. And it’s your generous donations that will help Lyric and the other hungry children who rely on the North Seattle Boys and Girls Club for steady meals. Let’s keep up the good work!