Tag Archives: Food Bank

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.”

 

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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!

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Filed under Hunger & Food Security

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

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?

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Filed under Food Bank, Hunger & Food Security, Poverty

Apron Creation A Sensation!

Last week strangers and friends got together to cut, sew, and assemble aprons for the volunteers at the FamilyWorks Food Bank. People came armed with scissors, pins, and sewing machines and got right to work! We are incredibly grateful to Sew-Up Seattle for donating five beautiful sewing machines and one experienced teacher for our newbie sewers. Thanks to everyone who attended! It was a smashing success! In total, we completed 14 aprons in under 3 hours.

We ordered patches from Schnitzel and Boo so that each apron would have our logo…

Want to get involved? Call Danielle at (206) 576-6534. We have extra fabric if you’d like to create an apron at home to donate to the food bank.

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Filed under Advocacy, Food Bank, Just for Fun

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

Nation & World | More families going without enough food | Seattle Times Newspaper

Nation & World | More families going without enough food | Seattle Times Newspaper.

Did you see this article in which more families are going without enough food?  This is not news to us.  We have seen the rise in families using our food bank.  But we live in such a generous community that we have been able to meet the need.  We hope that soon the ecomony picks up, people find jobs and are able to meet their finaincial needs.  Until then, we will remain open to help those who need it.

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Filed under Food Bank, Hunger & Food Security, Poverty

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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Filed under FamilyWorks News, Fundraisers, Uncategorized

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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Filed under FamilyWorks News, FamilyWorks Staff & Volunteers, FamilyWorks' Community

Giving Garden

On a recent warm, breezy summer Monday night, I braved the strange crosswalks and lights over the bustling N. 45th St and followed Bagley a couple blocks north until it dead-ended into a park. In the wide open spaces, shade sheltered a woman throwing a ball for her small dog, children kicked around a soccer ball, and I could hear the clanking sounds of gardening tools from my right. Following my ears, I rounded the corner and entered the Good Shepherd P-Patch.

None of the gardeners could remember exactly how long the P-Patch has been sponsoring and cultivating a Giving Garden through Lettuce Link, but it’s been at least several years. As a result of these dedicated volunteers, not only can a casual passerby enjoy the quiet yet abundant sanctity of the garden, but one can learn about various sustainable gardening techniques: green roofs, pollination, succession planting, summer/winter rotation, cucurbit trellis, double-digging raised beds, floating row covers, interplanting, companion planting, broadcast sowing, tomato trellising, and more. Moreover, the volunteers tend a Giving Garden, an area in which the produce grown is donated to FamilyWorks Food Bank.

On this particular evening, the P-Patch volunteers dug in and harvested over 51 POUNDS of food for FamilyWorks! I’d highly recommend checking out this gorgeous P-Patch, honing your gardening skills with the information posts you can find throughout the garden, and enjoying the bounty of organic food mixed with the beauty of various flowers. Just be sure to take note of the yellow plum tree you’ll pass through as you enter the gate – or you’ll end up with an overripe plum splattering on your head! (No one will notice, luckily, if you proceed to lick your fingers after you clean your hair.)

Want to get involved? The waitlist for P-Patches is notoriously long (I’m currently waiting for a spot at any of them, hoping not to have to ditch my potted tomatoes and beans when I move), but you may be able to find a space and a new friend with this garden listing. For more photos, please visit FamilyWorks’ Facebook Page.

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