Category Archives: Hunger & Food Security

Social Service Partnerships DO Matter!

Katie Showalter, a Journey Home case manager at Solid Ground, which is also in the same building as FamilyWorks, wrote a great note about her experience with our food bank. Journey Home works with homeless families in King County to find housing placement.

Katie had come to the food bank to get a box of food for one of her clients and her note illustrates how important it is for families to have regular access to food and the fact that anyone can face a disaster that leaves them needing resources. Katie’s entry into our food bank also shows how important social service partnerships are!

Here is what she said:

“I wanted to thank you and all the staff at the Family Works food bank… I have a family who lost their last permanent housing due to a house fire and they are now homeless and working hard to get back on their feet.  Despite working part-time they do not have the income [to provide enough food through the end of the month].  My client called and said that they would not have any food for four days until their food stamps came.  I asked [volunteer David Tate at the food bank] if I could access an emergency food box and [David] was SO HELPFUL and KIND and GENEROUS in the food that [he] provided.  My client was in such gratitude and so happy [to get] milk, cereal, soups, peanut butter, fresh fruit and vegetables and was THRILLED to get salmon!

The work that you do [at the food bank] every day has a huge impact on our community and I greatly appreciate your generosity.”

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Hunger & Food Security, Poverty

Hunger Action Day Focuses on Reversing Food Assistance Cuts and Addressing Unmet Needs

By Laura Shepard, FamilyWorks Volunteer

Jake Weber, ED and Mike Cox, FB Manager at the Capitol Building

Jake Weber, ED and Mike Cox, FB Manager at the Capitol Building

Jake Weber, FamilyWorks Executive Director and FamilyWorks Food Bank Manager Mike Cox attended the 2015 Hunger Action Day on Monday in Olympia with members of other anti-hunger organizations to lobby legislators or their staff members to support anti-hunger programs and legislation.

There was a great lineup of advocates from the 37th legislative district who highlighted the fact that economic recovery is not translating instantly into better food security for Washington Families.

One of those speakers was a 4th  grade girl representing kids all around the state who spoke on behalf of the Breakfast after the Bell bill, which would provide free breakfast to all students. She was soft spoken but confident.

“The legislators really paid attention to her- she made the point that it is hard to learn when one is hungry in school,” said Mike.

“She is a hunger advocate as we all should be,” added Jake.

Mike Cox was one of the speakers and he shared that 1 in 5 Washington Residents use food banks, and over 1/2 of participants served are either elderly or children. Mike pointed out that, alarmingly, in 2014 food bank visits actually rose with the highest growth in new participants coming from the elderly and children.

The main cause for the current upswing is no mystery – cuts in federal and state food assistance programs have made food banks more critical to more people than ever. The improving economy is cited as justification for quickly cutting federal and state food assistance programs, however it takes time for an improving economy to translate to food security for a household, and a recent upswing in unemployment has new participants applying to all forms of national, state and local food assistance options.

As major food assistance programs cut funding, food banks are stepping in to try and fill the gap. However, that gap is a big one. Food banks in Washington are struggling to meet growing demands, and this is reflected in the drop in total volume of food available to each participant on a per visit basis.

You can help!

  • Donate Funds – see how your donation of cash, goods or services can make a huge difference
  • VolunteerGive your time for food drives, sorting, driving or administrative functions
  • Advocate – Click here to find out how you can contact WA legislators and support legislation that helps people who are hungry
  • Tell your story – Legislators need to understand the full impact of being underemployed or being homebound and the frustration of not being able to get fresh greens in months

Thank you!

Leave a comment

Filed under Hunger & Food Security

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.

1 Comment

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

Watch Thanksgiving At The Nickerson, A Short Video By David Tate

On Thanksgiving Day 2014, Chef Chris Martino and his staff at the Nickerson Street Saloon and Grill hosted a dinner on behalf of FamilyWorks. They served a meal of smoked turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, sauteed green beans, cranberry sauce, dinner roll, and pumpkin pie to our program participants. Enjoy this short video, by FamilyWorks volunteer David Tate, to see the yummy feast.

Leave a comment

Filed under FamilyWorks' Community, Hunger & Food Security

Eating Granola For Good

How would you like to come home to a jar of granola sitting on your doorstep, just waiting to be gobbled up? Because that is exactly how good it is.Holiday GGG

“So good we give it all away!” is the Greater Good Granola business motto, coined by Mandy Levenberg, a consumer insights expert. Levenberg has spent her career “advising companies and nonprofits about how to do good while doing good business.”

In fact, Levenberg has two goals for her business: making delicious granola and donating 100% of the profits back to the community.

And guess which nonprofit is the lucky recipient of all proceeds from granola purchases until December 31, 2014? FamilyWorks is slated to receive approximately $2000 so far from Greater Good Granola!

Levenberg explains, “Our granola is small batch, handcrafted, and custom-baked each time. We only use the highest-quality ingredients, choosing organic whenever possible. There are lots of special additions that make this granola so tasty — like pepitas [pumpkin seeds], unsweetened coconut ribbons, house-made vanilla salt, dried cherries, and real Vermont maple syrup!” Other ingredients include all-natural oats, pecans, sunflower seeds, organic olive oil, and homemade organic vanilla salt.

There’s even a Community Supported Granola program where you can get a monthly subscription of either a one pound bag ($14) or a two pound jar ($25). And these are all picked up each month at Levenberg’s porch. How sweet is that?

So not only does this granola taste good, YOU can feel good knowing that your purchase supports nonprofits working on hunger, homelessness, and food equity issues.

For more information about how to be a part of the monthly porch subscription program or how to ship to friends, check out the Greater Good Granola website, call 206-390-3682 or email greatergoodgranola@gmail.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under FamilyWorks' Community, Fundraisers, Hunger & Food Security

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.

Leave a comment

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

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!

Leave a comment

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

A Million Meals for Haiti

Want to help Haiti with a family-friendly (kids ages 10+) volunteer experience? Join The Salvation Army as they pack a million meals to send to a tent city in Haiti.

Here is some more info from the website:

WHAT: A fun event packing a million meals that will feed displaced individuals living in a tent city operated by The Salvation Army in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Since the Jan. 12 disaster, The Salvation Army has already packed, shipped and distributed 10 million meals to the country.

Currently, The Salvation Army is distributing approximately one million meals per week in Haiti. To meet the constant demand for food, “Million Meals for Haiti” events are being organized around the United States in partnership with Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO) and Numana– a non-profit organization (www.numanainc.com) that produces dried, non-perishable meals to be distributed to areas of hunger worldwide. To date, The Salvation Army “Million Meals for Haiti” events have occurred in Los Angeles, Chicago, Kansas City, San Francisco and other cities.

WHO: At least 2000 volunteers are needed to make Seattle’s event successful. It takes a team of 12 to assemble and package the food so come alone or bring others to form your own team….Tell your family, friends, colleagues, community clubs, church, etc! Volunteers need to be at least 10-years-old.

WHERE: Washington State Convention Center, 800 Convention Pl., Seattle, WA 98101

WHEN: Sat. May 29, 12 – 8 PM Sun. May 30, 10 AM – 8 PM

HOW: For more information including volunteer registration, please visit www.salvationarmynw.org/haiti

We’d love to hear if you get a group together!

1 Comment

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

The Food Bank Diet

One group in Toronto is asking a powerful and thought-provoking question: “Does a single person on social assistance receive enough income to live with health and dignity?”

Social assistance in Ontario is comparable to DSHS here in Washington State. Basically, if you are in financial need, you may qualify for Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support, which would help provide money for food and housing, employment assistance, and health care. But is it enough assistance? Do The Math is a campaign hosted by The Stop Community Food Centre located in Toronto that is battling this issue. They believe that there really is not enough assistance for people to live with health and dignity. See for yourself- check out their website and follow the “Take the Survey” link to see what financial alterations to your lifestyle you would need to make.

Read this article and tell us what you think. Could you live on a Food Bank diet? Can one trip to the food bank fill you up for the week?

1 Comment

Filed under Food Bank, Hunger & Food Security, Poverty

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!’”

1 Comment

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