New Summer Meals Sponsors Stepping Up in East King County
When people think of the eastside of King County, many focus on the amazing companies and generous wealth and philanthropy that thrives on the other side of Lake Washington. However, times are still tough for many families ALL over King County, and we are seeing more and more people on the eastside experiencing job loss, home loss and the threat of hunger.
This threat is ever so present, especially during the summertime, for families with children who rely on free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch during the school year. Some of the school districts on the north and east sides of King County have seen higher numbers on free or reduced-price lunch, with Bellevue at 21 percent of the student body and Lake Washington with over 22,000 kids enrolled. When school’s out, there is an extra burden placed on already struggling moms and dads to put healthy, fresh food on the table every day.
There are a number of great organizations tackling this issue, including Hopelink and its End Summer Hunger imitative. This effort helps raise thousands of extra dollars to help supplement what food banks give their clients, making sure to include extra healthy, kid-friendly foods for the summer months. Hopelink’s website offers a how-to guide for community members interested in hosting their own food or fund drive for this program as well, which is a great way to build on the community ownership that is already being forged in north and east King County around hunger, especially due to the work of Nourishing Networks.
In addition to these great efforts, three eastside cities in particular are stepping up to the plate to leverage federal dollars to feed hungry children in the summer through the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program: Kirkland, Redmond and Bellevue. The city of Kirkland and city of Redmond have declared their support for this effective anti-hunger program by becoming official sponsors, each with one pilot site this summer.
I was able to connect with both of these great groups of people through Nourishing Networks meetings and with the help of the statewide Summer Meals Work group and United Way of King County’s Out of School Meals grants, these sites were up and running by the start of summer. A colleague and I had the chance to visit both sites recently and were delighted to see families coming to take advantage of the free, healthy food.
These folks are doing an amazing job! Just so you know, Kirkland’s site is located at 13159 132nd Ave. NE Kirkland, WA 98034, and it’s open on Tuesdays, July 10 through Aug. 28, 2012, from 11:30 a.m. to noon for lunch. The city of Redmond’s site is located at 18304 NE 95th St. Redmond, WA 98052, and it’s open Monday through Friday, July 9 through Aug. 24, 2012, from noon to 12:45 p.m. for lunch. ALL under 18 are welcome to come for a free meal and friendly faces! There are also two summer meals sites in Bellevue and hundreds all over the county. To access all the information for every available site, visit www.parenthelp123.org.
Thanks so much, Kirkland and Redmond, for stepping up and helping us create a hunger-free King County.
P.S. Check out some local coverage below about Kirkland’s summer meals site on Currently Kirkland!