Guest blogger Constance McBarron is a volunteer on the Emerging Leader Marketing Committee and a PR professional at Barokas Public Relations. She recently led a Second Saturday volunteer project for Emerging Leaders and recaps why this was four hours well spent.
Saturday was one of those crisp, clear autumn mornings when you know you’re going to have a good day. A group of ten of us Emerging Leaders joined other volunteers to spend our morning at the North Seattle Helpline Food Bank. For four hours, we lined up to sort donations and dole out canned foods, fresh produce, and even a few cupcakes to our neighbors in need.
Located between Fred Meyer and an apartment complex, the building is unassuming. At around 9:30 AM, folks start lining up, chit chatting about the upcoming Seahawks game or keeping an eye on their playing children. You could find the same line of people at a movie theatre, except these people are all carrying large tote bags or have rolling carts to carry their weekly groceries.
The North Helpline Food Bank and Emergency Services have been operating since 1989 and serve over 1700 of our neighbors each week who live in Greater North Seattle, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell, and Shoreline. On this Saturday, we served a total of 727 clients, including 200 seniors, 313 adults, 195 children, and 19 infants.
Some food banks saw a 30% increase in use because of the recession. Though many of us have been fortunate enough to see the affects of the recession begin to decrease in the past year, food banks are still reporting record numbers. This is a huge problem that seems too big to solve, but that is why I support United Way. Ending hunger is one of the key goals of United Way and in addition to supporting local food banks like North Helpline, in 2008 they developed the Hunger Relief Now! plan which invests $2 million annually to:
- Strengthen the infrastructure of the emergency food system.
- Connect families to federal nutrition benefits, including Basic Food (food stamps), summer meals, school breakfast and after-school meal programs.
- Ensure families have access to healthy, nutritious foods.
- Build the public and political will to end hunger.
United Way also launched the One Million Meals Campaign in 2013 to provide nutritious meals to children during the summer months.
As we start to leave behind our crisp autumn mornings and head into the rush of the holiday season, please consider making a donation to United Way of King County to help end hunger in our community. If you are in your 20’s or 30’s and want to make a difference, consider joining our Emerging Leaders group here.