Category Archives: FamilyWorks News

Watch The 2014 FamilyWorks Video by Sarah Ricci

Sarah Ricci, a talented filmmaker, made this year’s video for our annual Sunday Supper fundraising event.  Check it out!

We asked a number of our food bank and resource center participants, as well as members of the community “What does FamilyWorks mean to you?”  It was touching to hear how this caring community is having a positive impact on the lives of so many people!

Thank you to all who volunteered to be in the video, to Cassy Johnson (Board Member) and Joey Ashenbrenner (Development Manager) for their help, and especially to Sarah Ricci for doing such an incredible job.

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Franklin HS Woodshop Keeps Food Bank on the Move

 By Virginia Eader, MSW Intern

Students brainstorming with Woodshop teacher, Mike Lawson, on how to complete the carts for the food bank. “It brought a lot of us together,” described Senior Michael Raglin-Johnsen. “We had to communicate and work as a team.”

 In 2010 Family Works collected over 522 tons of food through the generous support of the local Wallingford and Seattle community. FamilyWork’s dedicated staff and volunteers work hard to ensure that all of the food is carefully sorted, organized, refrigerated, and made ready to distribute to eager customers throughout each week.

As with most food banks, storage capacity and mobility of food can be quite challenging. When Sanjay Rao, food bank volunteer and FamilyWorks board member, first began working in the food bank he witnessed the heavy moving and shifting of the 300-400 pound stacked crates of food. “There’s got to be a better way,” he thought.

 Staff and volunteers began brainstorming ways to improve the mobility of food. After researching costly solutions and testing out three hand-made prototypes, it was decided that a simply designed wood frame with swivel wheels could be a hopeful solution. To help with building the carts, the project became a great community service opportunity for a group willing to help out. Thirteen students from Franklin High School’s Woodshop class, one of the few Woodshop programs left in Seattle, stepped up to the challenge.

 Mike Lawson, who has been teaching Woodshop at Franklin for the past 16 years, was excited to get his students involved with the project. “It’s a big world out there and I want students to see that they can have a part in it,” Lawson said. This is the third community service project the class has done this semester.

Franklin Woodshop student proudly holds two completed carts. "It's not everyday that students have the opportunity to go from a concept to a finished product," said Teacher, Mike Lawson.

 Food bank volunteers pooled together to get the necessary supplies for students to make the carts. Just over a week after the materials were delivered, students had all 25 carts complete.

 Reflecting on the project, Junior Angela Ma says, “It was very fun. Like an assembly line, everyone put in effort to help make each cart.”

 The building of the carts required that the students use a combination of skills including math, reading, following detailed directions, precision cutting and drilling, as well as a great deal of collaborative problem solving and communication.

 Lawson described the learning process, “It was pretty cool watching [the students]. You could really see their gears turning. In this class every kid has a chance to be a rock star. They don’t necessarily have that chance in other parts of their life.”

 Many students expressed excitement about helping the food bank through their class work.

 “It’s nice to be able to put something to use. We can go out in the community and say ‘oh wow’ I made this’,” Senior Maddy Williams said.     Junior Jonathan Chac agreed, “It felt good because it’s not just for a grade. I’m actually helping people.”

FamilyWorks volunteers Sanjay Rao and David Tate testing the new carts in the food bank. "Honestly, I feel really good about this project," Sanjay explained. "All it takes is to bring people together and they'll help each other out."

 The students are hoping to be able take a field trip to FamilyWorks to see their hard work in action. Some students even expressed the desire to volunteer after school. In the mean time, the carts will help keep thousands of pounds of nutritious food moving more efficiently throughout the food bank each week. The benefits of this collaborative project will help to better serve the individuals and families who need it most.

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FOOD BANK GOURMET

Calling all community minded foodies!     Celebrated chef and restaurant owners Rachel Yang of Joule and Amy McCray of Eva will be teaming up for an interactive cooking demonstration. They will be using items that are typically found in the FamilyWorks food bank. Seattle’s own celebrity chef, Kathy Casey, will MC the event. 

 In addition to the demo, guests will be invited to tour the FamilyWorks resource center and food bank, enjoy a wine tasting by Sozo Planet, and snack on appetizers. Recipes from the demonstration will be shared with guests, as well as food bank customers. The minimum age for attendance is 21. Tickets are $25/person and can be purchased at  Brown Paper Tickets

FamilyWorks is a food bank and family resource center that nourishes and strengthens individuals and families by connecting them with support, resources, and community. Our vision is for a vibrant and healthy community with strong well-nourished families as the foundation.

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Having Faith in the Community: St. Andrew’s Commitment to Giving

This December brought an overwhelming surge of generosity to the FamilyWorks Resource Center and Food Bank. Individuals and groups contributed by bringing in clothing, toys, and diapers to the resource center, buying children’s presents for our gift program, and donating thousands of pounds of food to the food bank. It is a telling statement that even in trying economic times, the community will unite to fulfill the needs of its neighbors. We thank everyone for their generosity.

Over thirty groups contributed their time and energy in December, mostly by hosting food and hygiene drives. These groups included churches, businesses, small organizations, and Girl Scout Troops. Some of these groups were hosting drives for the first time while others were veteran hosts, long-time supporters and contributors to FamilyWorks. One especially committed group is St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. They have been involved with the FamilyWorks Food Bank for over 20 years—back when it was known as the Fremont Food Bank.

This past year, St. Andrew’s had a goal to donate 2009 pounds of food to the FamilyWorks Food Bank over the course of the year. This averages out to about 170 pounds a month, which is quite the contribution for a congregation of around 300 families! They surpassed their goal of 2009 pounds,  but not without hard work and dedication. Reverend Peter Strimer, who supports the outreach programs including the food drives, is an incredible motivator. He, along with Carol Marshall, a dedicated volunteer,  help to get the congregation involved and enthusiastic about donating items to FamilyWorks. Carol works on The Log, St. Andrew’s newsletter, and includes each week’s weight in donated food. This constant reminder helps keep people involved and interested. According to Carol, there is also already a spirit of giving rooted deeply in the congregation.

St. Andrew’s is a prophetic church. They believe in proclaiming God’s love for all people and working for justice in the world, especially for “the poor, the marginalized, and the outcast.” Their outreach ministries supply food and community to those in need. “People are hungry in a variety of ways,” says Ruby, St. Andrew’s ministry coordinator who supports the volunteer ministries. St. Andrew’s works to fill that hunger in diverse ways–through spiritual, nutritional, and community outpourings. In addition to hosting monthly food drives for FamilyWorks, they also host a Jubilee Dinner and collaborate with other churches to supply a monthly dinner to homeless teenagers called Teen Feed. The Jubilee Dinner, which runs the last Sunday of every month at 2pm, is a 30-year old program that combines food and conversation. At this meal, the participants are served by volunteers and offered hand massages and gifts at Christmas. Everyone benefits from these outreach ministries.

An integral part of the Jubilee Dinner is conversation, and hearing people’s stories. “People come to the Jubilee Dinner to be fed, but we were fed by them,” Ruby said metaphorically about hearing several participants’ stories. These stories inspire others to contribute, to donate, and to lend an ear to someone in need of conversation. St. Andrew’s continues to be a source of inspiration for all of us in the community. “The ministry of all of us is outside of the church,” Ruby states. Carol agrees, adding that churches who want to get involved need only to “Get off of that ‘comfortable pew!’”

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Family Focus Group

Attention, families in the Wallingford, Fremont, and University Districts! On November 4, 5:30-7, there will be a Family Focus group for adults. Group participants will receive refreshments, a Safeway gift card, a children’s book, and a chance to have a voice in your community. Participants will be asked questions like these:

  • What are the needs that every family has?
  • What resources or support would help families to meet those needs?
  • What would help to make support networks and resources responsive to your family?

If you would like to participate in this focus group, please RSVP to Danielle at 206-576-6534, or click here to RSVP on Facebook. Childcare is available on a limited basis.

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FamilyWorks Sunday Dinner & Auction

BlackRock Volunteers build muscle at the food bank

BlackRock Volunteers build muscle at the food bank

There’s community building going on in preparation for the September 27th FamilyWorks’ Sunday Dinner and Auction.   BlackRock is our major event sponsor this year and has teams of employees volunteering at the food bank as part of the partnership package. These volunteers will get a complimentary ticket to this extraordinary Tom Douglas’  meal and FamilyWorks program.  Companies like BlackRock and Adobe really put muscle behind the money by promoting volunteerism at the non-profits that they support.   Pictured here are BlackRock muscle builders at the food bank.    Check out the dinner tabs for more sponsors and auction information.    I’ll let you in on a few of my favorites:  glass sushi set, Dave Matthews tickets, 5 liter bottle of Chianti, Adobe Photoshop, Lunch with Frank Chopp, sailing, golfing, massages and more!  

Details include 5-7:30 pm at Pallace Ballroom, Eric Liu, speaker.  Call 206 694-6726 to RSVP.  $100 per plate ($50 tax deductible). Hope to see you there!

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Fridays at FamilyWorks

After working as the Tutoring & Family Programs Coordinator at FamilyWorks for almost a year, I’d never seen it on a Friday. I’d heard rumors that the hallway, normally bustling with food bank users, resource center drop-ins, and community members hanging out, was completely empty on Fridays. I couldn’t imagine it.

To be fair, the Friday I chose to visit FamilyWorks a few weeks ago happened to be the day our record-breaking heatwave broke. The city in general seemed to express a collective sigh of relief. People slept in, children didn’t have to be shuffled around with parents on errands designed to spend maximum time in air conditioning, and it was safe to venture outside without a gallon of water.

Nonetheless, the Friday I visited was exactly as I’d heard: eerily quiet. The food bank line was short or nonexistant, playgroup participants normally packing the playroom to capacity were absent, and precisely no one used the chairs set up for lounging in the hallway. If you’re visiting the food bank or the resource center for the first time, I highly recommend choosing a Friday morning. Things move a little less frenetically for sure. For this Chicagoan-gone-Southern-then-estranged-to-Seattle, it’s a nice change of pace.

*check our calendar, available on our website, for specific happenings on Fridays or any other day. Also scroll down to your right to see upcoming events, but keep in mind that due to a WordPress issue, the times are all several hours off (no there are no playgroups at 2am!).

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