Category Archives: Food Bank

Launching the PowerPack Program

backpack imageImagine going to school hungry and trying to pay attention in the classroom. Your stomach is growling and you simply haven’t consumed enough calories to keep yourself awake.

It’s a good thing we have the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs which give children who are low-income free or reduced-priced meals. This certainly helps with combating hunger at school.

But there is another problem: kids leave school on Friday afternoon not knowing if they will have a real meal over the weekend before Monday rolls around. This can contribute to stress and anxiety for these kids and makes it hard for them to arrive at school ready to learn on Monday.

Fortunately, we have developed a partnership with BF Day and Hamilton schools to remedy this problem. Every Friday throughout the school year, kids who qualify for those reduced-priced meals receive a backpack or more aptly named, a “PowerPack”, filled to the brim with nutritious foods to carry them through the weekend.

Each PowerPack aims to have enough healthy food for four balanced meals plus healthy snacks. They do not require refrigeration, are easy to prepare, and are targeted to kids’ tastes. Some examples of foods in the Powerpacks include:

-individual sizes of juice
– shelf-stable milk
– cereal
– fruit cups
– individual meals (mac & cheese, spaghetti & meatballs)
– soups
– granola bars

The food comes from food drives, donations, and purchases from grocery stores. Backpacks are delivered by school representatives every Wednesday and are filled by our food bank volunteers. They are picked up the next day and distributed at the schools in a respectful and discreet manner to protect students’ anonymity.

Mike Cox, FamilyWorks food bank manager, who is coordinating this program says, “We are fostering our children’s health by reducing stress due to food insecurity and we are putting them on a path to a healthier future.”

If you are interested in more information or want to help, please contact Joey Ashenbrenner, Development and Resource Manager at joeya@familyworksseattle.org or 206-694-6725.

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Filed under Food Bank, Hunger & Food Security, Poverty, Uncategorized

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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Filed under Education, FamilyWorks News, Food Bank

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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Filed under FamilyWorks News, FamilyWorks Staff & Volunteers, FamilyWorks' Community, Food Bank, Fundraisers, Hunger & Food Security, Uncategorized

Sharing the Love

Happy Valentine’s Day from FamilyWorks!

Last week, students from John Stanford International School and Meridian School handcrafted hundreds of unique Valentine’s Day cards. As shown below, the time spent crafting the cards was evident in their unique and beautiful designs. With encouragement from our MSW Intern, Virginia, the students made these lovely Valentines for customers of the FamilyWorks Food Bank, recognizing that these members of their community could potentially benefit from such an act of kindness; something to nourish their souls, in addition to nourishing their bodies. They were absolutely right, and their thoughtfulness went a long way.

On Thursday and Friday, the Valentines were personally distributed to customers, while they waited in the food bank’s queue. The timing was purposeful, as it allowed for a moment of reflection and communication. The impact was extremely heartwarming to witness. Recipients were visibly touched and appreciative that the local youth had taken time to make the cards, with them in mind. Many customers teared up. It was especially meaningful to our many elderly community members, many of whom live alone and often feel isolated. One elderly man returned, after leaving earlier with his supplies, to express his immense gratitude for the kind gesture. He shook hands with every FamilyWorks volunteer on the line, thanking them for their service.

Sometimes, we underestimate the power of human connection. The students’ Valentines are a perfect example of how even the simplest act of kindness can have an unexpected and lasting impact. A great thought to keep in mind on this day of love (and kindness)!

FamilyWorks would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank You” to the students and teachers at John Stanford International School and Meridian School.

~Bromley Autier

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Filed under FamilyWorks' Community, Food Bank

Thank You to Adobe!

FamilyWorks extends a huge thank you to Adobe, a long-time FamilyWorks supporter! Adobe employees like Roberta Lord, who have been volunteering in the FamilyWorks food bank once or twice a week for years, have witnessed first-hand the changing face of hunger. Roberta was so moved by the growing need in our community that she approached FamilyWorks Food Bank Manager Ava Dowell about organizing a major Adobe food drive to benefit FamilyWorks.

Together, Roberta, Ava, and Adobe’s Seattle Action Committee planned a competitive food drive with specific areas of need: no-cook bags, baby items, gas and transportation, and general food bank items. Roberta designed shopping lists and donation sheets, Molly Ruf and Todd Heckle (other Adobe employees) designed posters, and the Adobe Site Council lent their support by promoting a specific area of need each week.

Most impressively, Tim Roth and the second floor of the Adobe building had a three-way competition to see who could raise the most money and collect the most food. All three groups did an amazing job – one team raised $2000!

Adobe as a corporation chose to match donations 2:1 for the month of November, and even did the matching paperwork themselves! Adobe also inspired other community partnerships: The Watermark Café allowed people to donate at the register using their credit and debit cards.

All in all, Adobe employees donated over $4000 in cash, which was matched twice by Adobe, and they collected over 1000 pounds of food and baby supplies for FamilyWorks in a record-breaking food drive! We and our clients would like to extend a generous thank you for Adobe’s continued support!

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Filed under FamilyWorks' Community, Food Bank, Fundraisers

Support FamilyWorks by Playing Rock Paper Scissors!

Did you know that there is a Rock Paper Scissors Championship in Fremont? How fun! The Rotary Club of Fremont is proudly sponsoring the Second Annual Center of the Universe Rock Paper Scissors World Championships at 6 p.m. on June 24. It will be held at LTD Bar and Grill, which is located in downtown Fremont at 309 N. 36th St. This year, the event will support the FamilyWorks Food Bank. It might be helpful for you to brush up on your rock paper scissors technique, which you can read about here: http://www.wikihow.com/Win-at-Rock,-Paper,-Scissors.

Want to get involved? Pre-register by emailing rps@fremontrotary.com. Find out more about the World Rock Paper Scissors Society by clicking here: http://www.worldrps.com/.

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Filed under FamilyWorks' Community, Food Bank, Just for Fun

FamilyWorks is at the Wallingford Farmer’s Market!

It’s official– the Wallingford Farmer’s Market is in full swing. You can pick up everything you need for a complete, delicious meal (along with caramels and ice cream for dessert!). Snap peas, edible flowers, cherries, green garlic, crisp apples, pasta, pastries, Patty Pan quesadillas, oh my! The farmers are friendly, the shoppers are happy, the children are playful–there’s no reason to not come visit the market! All of your non-food desires can be satisfied, too: Cascade Bicycles will answer all your cycling questions and give you great maps, the shops inside of the Wallingford Center offer 10% off deals if you show them your produce, and of course, you can chat with the lovely people from FamilyWorks!

You won’t miss our pretty purple tent. Stop by and pick up a calendar, or ask us how to get involved. When you support the farmers, you support the food bank. Yesterday, 67 pounds of produce was collected from farmers to donate to the FamilyWorks Food Bank! Thanks!

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Filed under FamilyWorks Staff & Volunteers, FamilyWorks' Community, Food Bank, Hunger & Food Security