Update on East Shore’s Covid Food Relief Project: January 2021

Jan 28, 2021 | COVID, Justice, News

Our annual Auction and an allocation from the Minister’s Discretionary Fund raised $24,675 to use with our 4 partner organizations for relieving the strain of food insecurity during the pandemic. You can learn more about the Project here. The Steering Team has created a giving plan and is in conversation with our partners about their volunteer and financial needs. We have begun distributing the money and several volunteer events have happened with more to come. We’ve determined that we won’t be offering opportunity with one partner – Mobile Meal Alliance – until Covid restrictions are looser. We are able to volunteer and donate to the other 3 partners. Here are more details:

Food Packing with Backpack Meals for Kids!

Our newest volunteer opportunity! On January 28, we had our first Backpack Meals for Kids activity packing weekend meals for Bellevue school district kids to eat at at 12037 NE 5th St, Bellevue. This is a once a month event during the week that starts at 8:30 a.m. and usually lasts between 1 to 2 hours. This activity is indoors, in a large open air warehouse. There is no signage outside that indicates it is a BSD warehouse.  We need a coordinator to handle signups for this event, communicate with Backpack Meals for Kids and attend steering team meetings. All can be done from home! Please consider how you might support this work.

Backpack Meals for Kids is 100% volunteer run. Normally, they fill the gap between food available at school and weekends with no food. Right now there is no food being served at schools. They pack 600 meals a week to help fill the gap and still offer a weekend meal. East Shore is volunteering for weekend lunch packing and the Covid Food Relief Project has donated $2,000 to Backpack Meals towards the cost of food supplies.

Jubilee Reach: Every Week

The Jubilee Reach ‘Groceries for Families’ project has grown to provide groceries for more than 700 families each week. Learn more about their program directly here. East Shore’s Covid Food Relief is contributing $1,100-1,500 per month to purchase enough food for 15 families. Each week, Colleen Lamb and Laurie Wick buy the food at QFC and deliver it to Jubilee Reach to be packed into separate bags for each family. In addition, Karen Ramsahai has been purchasing bulk items at Costco. We are very pleased to be a part of this wonderful program. In February, we are hoping to be able to host volunteers to pack these groceries at East Shore to prepare for delivery to Jubilee Reach, probably on a Saturday or Sunday. This would be a good family project, one of the goals of our Covid Food Relief effort.

Beet Picking & Future Harvesting at Food Bank Farm

Help to serve the community, and have fun while you’re at it! It’s a chance to get outside into the wide open spaces of farm fields, off the screen, enjoying the fresh air and learning about food growing and how far generosity can go! Since 2011, The Food Bank Farm in Snohomish County, just near Bob’s Corn and Maze, has been growing food to donate. Millions of pounds of it. Most of the produce goes to Food Lifeline and all of it is harvested by volunteers! More details are in the upcoming events found here. Also check out their Facebook page. The current crop of beets is nearing the end of harvesting. Stay tuned because Farmer Father Jim says there are year round volunteer possibilities. All ages are welcome to volunteer and you don’t have to be a farmer—in fact, you are welcome even if you have never harvested! You don’t have to stay the entire time – any time you can give is appreciated. Make sure you dress for the weather and activity. The farm has covid safety measures in place.

All farms need equipment and supplies. Food Bank Farm was in need of a tractor that could do close cultivation and weed control row by row. Farmer Father Jim found a used tractor in Montana that East Shore’s Covid Food Relief Project contributed $2,575 towards. After some needed repairs, it will be ready to go into the fields.

Interested in what it takes to harvest beets? Check out this video:

by Grace Colton