Reprint of Article as published by the Redmond Reporter:
School lunch data raises questions of equity on the Eastside
A 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.
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 https://lakewashingtonschoolsfoundation.salsalabs.org/2017fallcampaignpantrypacks/index.html. 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.
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
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.
*PLEASE NOTE - FOR SUMMER MEALS IN OTHER AREAS, GO TO THIS USDA LINK, ENTER YOUR ADDRESS, AND SEE A LIST OF THE NEAREST LOCAL SITES FOR FREE SUMMER MEALS FOR KIDS.
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.
UPDATE: FIRST LUTHERAN CHURCH IN BOTHELL IS ALSO OFFERING FREE SUMMER MEALS FROM JULY 6 - AUGUST 30, M-F, 11:30AM - 1PM AT 10207 NE 183RD ST. GET MORE INFORMATION HERE.
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.
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
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.
Reprint of Seattle PI article:
Hungry families: Seattle communities ranked by food insecurity
Published 6:10 pm, Monday, April 3, 2017
Photo 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.
Reprint of Article as Published by the Redmond Reporter:
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
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.
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
Photo 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.
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
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!
Ashley Wilson Oster and Carrie Schneider”
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.
In 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.
In 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!
President | Feed Washington
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!!
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...
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.
"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, 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 __________."
A 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!
"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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yikes! 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.
Now 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!
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!
This 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.
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.
Wait, 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 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!
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: http://feedwashington.org/lwsd #solvestudenthunger #lwsd #feedwa
Here is the United Nations' plan for making that happen: tinyurl.com/q29yvu6
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!
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.
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:
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.
Childhood hunger is a growing national problem. This article presents new analysis of the federal data showing that for the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of U.S. public school students come from low-income families.
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.
Thank you to 425 Business for this article on Feed Washington's work in partnership with the Ballard Food Bank to feed the hungry kids in Ballard, and the support we're getting from Sterling, Johnston Real Estate.
As we reach the end of 2013 I would like to thank Feed Washington donors for making this year one of our most impactful years ever. Your generosity produced over 58,000 meals for the hungry kids of our state!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Baseball season is underway and Trader Joe’s has signed up with Mariners Care, the Seattle Mariners non-profit foundation, to help fight hunger!
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.
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.
Childhood hunger is a growing problem and over 400,000 children in Washington State go hungry every day. The recession has made a deep mark on Washington families and the number of hungry households has grown nearly 100 percent from 2008. We now rank the 11th hungriest state in the nation.
Hungry children in Washington come in all ages, and the most vulnerable are infants and babies. Your generosity has just made it possible for Feed Washington to donate 320 cans (83,840 fluid ounces) of infant formula to St. Leo’s Food Connection Food Bank in Tacoma.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Hunger Action Month is here and Feed Washington is teaming up with organizations across the country to increase awareness and help end childhood hunger. The entire nation is getting involved and participating in the 30 Ways in 30 Days to end hunger. Here are some of the ways YOU can get involved: