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Bellevue Downtown Blog

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Organizations feeding those in need and how you can be involved

by Althea Achem | Sep 16, 2016
caring for the community photo
​Hopelink volunteer stocking produce. Photo (c) Gordon Wang.

For many people, planning dinner is more complicated than restaurant reservations or grocery store trips. Thousands of Bellevue community members do not know where their next meal will come from. In 2015, Hopelink — a nonprofit serving those in need —served nearly 6,000 individuals at their Bellevue Foodbank and Emergency Services Center.

“Many people say how they never thought they’d personally be in need,” says Kris Betker, of Hopelink. “It’s amazing how quickly life can change. You can lose your job, become sick or just become unable to make ends meet.” 

Learn about organizations feeding our neighbors in need and how you can help.

Hopelink

Hopelink’s Bellevue location is its second largest of five Puget Sound locations.Clients include all ages with a particular emphasis on school-aged children during summer months. According to Betker, nearly 20% of Bellevue children qualify for free or reduced lunch and breakfast. During school breaks, this leaves many kids hungry. Hopelink accepts donations with a particular need for nonperishable foods such as peanut butter and canned goods, which stores are less likely to donate. Hope-Link.org.

Hopelink's 21st Reaching Out Luncheon  
Keynote by Mario Batali
Monday, October 24 | The Meydenbauer Center 
For more information and to register visit Hope-Link.org

Bellevue LifeSpring

Founded in 1911, LifeSpring has served Bellevue for 105 years. Their Emergency Food and Basic Needs Pantry delivers groceries directly to households. All donations are welcome, but contact LifeSpring if you’re interested in focused help. LifeSpring endeavors to serve all food needs from cultural to dietary, allergies and more. They also sponsor the Breaktime-Mealtime program serving children boxed breakfasts and lunches during school breaks. During the 2015–2016 school year 128,000 meals were provided. For $25, a child is fed for a week. To learn more about Adopt-a-Box, visit BellevueLifeSpring.org.

Bellevue LifeSpring's Uncork the Night 
A celebration of wine and giving benefiting the Breaktime-Mealtime™ Program
Saturday, October 8 | Hyatt Regency Bellevue
For more information and to purchase tickets visit BellevueLifeSpring.org.

Bellevue Farmers Market

Recipients enjoy a variety of fresh-from-the-farm products. The Thursday market averages over 40 vendors representing farmers, bakers, egg producers and more. Donation crates overflow with lettuce, eggplant, tomatoes, raspberries, peaches, bread, jam and more. The total food donated since the program’s inception exceeds 66,000 pounds. “Especially operating in Bellevue, there are misconceptions that it’s a well-to-do area and everyone can afford food. There are many people in need and everyone deserves access to good food,” says Natalie Evans, market manager. A new program was introduced in 2016. The community is now encouraged to donate food via public bins at the farmers market. BellevueFarmersMarket.org.

Seastar Restaurant and John Howie Steak

Chef John Howie is passionate about eradicating hunger. For 14 years, Howie, his family, friends and a volunteer staff host 400-500 individuals for an elegant Thanksgiving meal at Seastar at no charge to guests. He partners with community organizations such as Bellevue LifeSpring, Hopelink, YMCA and more to extend invitations to those in need. He also leads the Kick Hunger Challenge for Food Lifeline. In partnership with the Seattle Seahawks, he raises money for local food banks. In addition to fundraising dinners and auctions, individuals can visit his restaurants for periodic cocktail and food promotions with proceeds benefiting the cause. For updates and details, visit JohnHowieSteak.com or SeastarRestaurant.com.
 

Homeward Pet Adoption Center

Families lacking food often extends to hungry pets. “The food banks we work with estimate that 90% of the families utilizing their services have pets,” says Terri Inglis, executive director, Homeward Pet. “They’re also struggling to feed their furry friends and will often feed their pets before themselves.” In 2015, Homeward Pet donated upwards of 50,000 pounds of pet food to Puget Sound food banks. Needs include dry kibble, canned food and even kitty litter. Even half-used, opened bags of dry food are welcome — donate rather than discard food if your pet changes tastes, diet or develops allergies. For donation locations and further details, visit HomewardPet.org.
 
This article was written by Deanna Duff and is featured in the Bellevue Downtown Magazine. You can read the full magazine HERE!

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