How to Help: Provide Meals to Hungry Kids This Summer

In King County 99,000 kids and teens receive free or reduced price lunch during the school year. The Summer Meals program seeks to feed those kids when school isn’t in session, but only 15% of those students use the program, and one of the biggest reasons is that families don’t know it exists.

Help the 84,000 kids and teens who aren’t accessing nutritious meals during the summer find the site closest to them. Join us as we distribute doorhangers at homes and apartments so more kids and teens can get the nutrients they need during the summer.

United Way will hold 3 outreach events throughout King County:

  • 6/14, 10:30-2 in SeaTac. meet at the Valley View library for a brief orientation.
  • 6/28, 10:30-2 in Seattle. meet at the Douglass-Truth library.
  • 6/28, 10:30-2 in Federal Way.  meet at the Federal Way library on 1st (not on 320th).

Bring comfortable shoes and your passion for feeding hungry kids, and help ensure a few less kids go hungry this summer.

Sign up to volunteer or contact Marie Eberlein at (206) 461-3723 or for more information

For more information, you can visit the volunteer match site.


Are all food donations created equal?

Many of us are more than happy to donate the extra food we have laying around the house when we are asked to assist in a food drive.  The fact is though, that some food donation choices are better than others.

The most critical factor you should think about when donating food is the shelf life.  Food banks do need fresh food, as well as items with a long shelf life, but it does not help anybody to stick a fresh loaf of bread in a donation box that may not be picked up for another few weeks…yuck!  If you would like to contribute fresh produce or bread, these donations should be made to the physical location after asking if there is a need for any fresh produce.  Many food banks already partner with local suppliers or retailers to get their extra produce and any further donation would potentially go to waste.  When in doubt, go for longer shelf life food.

Not many people consider the nutritional aspect of the food donations they make either.  Nutritional food is key for growing up healthy, and is one of the criteria which is used to determine food security.  If a person does not have access to nutritional food (it does not matter how many bags of marshmallows they have) they are still considered to be food insecure.  We all need basic vitamins, minerals, and sustenance to survive.



The best items you can donate are:  Oatmeal, Whole grain pastas, Brown rice, Tomato products, Canned vegetables, Canned fruit, Canned fish or meat, Shelf-stable milk,  Beef stew, chili and similar meals with low sugar and saturated fats – See more at:

How to Help: Maple Valley Food Bank

Food Banks in Washington state are a great way to combat food insecurity. Families and individuals meet income criteria and receive weekly nutritional subsistence. Basically, families comes through with vouchers based on household size. They receive the equivalent of a weekly trip to the grocery store, balanced with grains, proteins, and fresh produce. They can even pick out a sweet donated by a local bakery. Food banks also offer educational services, run drives for school supplies, and collect toy donations for the holidays.

Courtesy Valley Food Bank and Emergency Services

Courtesy Valley Food Bank and Emergency Services

The Maple Valley Food Bank serves the south Puget Sound area in Black Diamond, Covington, Hobart, Maple Valley, Ravensdale and within the boundaries of The Tahoma School District. They do great work. They’re up every morning before the grocery stores open, making the rounds to clear out unsold goods so they can be put to good use. Check out their site if you are considering volunteering. You can also set this food bank as your charity of choice on AmazonSmile, so they can benefit from 0.05% of eligible purchases. Such an easy way to give back.

Like their Facebook page, if you’re interested in getting in touch.


Via our Instagram (Click through)


How Did You Give Big?

Courtesy Give Big

Your blogger for today, Sat Kaur, donated to the Kent Food Bank on the Seattle Foundation website. This food bank has served over 16,000 individuals. It’s close to home and I can see the individual’s served by this bank firsthand. Donations to any food bank or organization helps fight hunger. Studies prove that hungry kids cannot focus in school. They often have to repeat grades. Making a small donation or volunteering your hours can positively affect a life. The official poverty measure published by the United States Census Bureau  and shows that:

  • In 2010, 46.9 million people were in poverty, up from 37.3 million in 2007 — the fourth consecutive annual increase in the number of people in poverty .  This is the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty rates have been published (DeNavas-Walt 2011, p. 14).
  • The 2010 poverty rate was 15.1 percent, up from 12.5 percent in 1997.  This is the highest poverty rate since 1993, but 7.3 percentage points lower than the poverty rate in 1959, the first year for poverty estimates.  (DeNavas-Walt 2011, p. 14).
  • The 2010 poverty rate for Hispanics was 26.6 percent, for Blacks 27.4 percent. 
  • In 2010, the poverty rate increased for children under age 18 from 20.7 percent to 22.0 percent. (DeNavas-Walt 2010 p. 14).
  • 20.5 million Americans live in extreme poverty. This means their family’s cash income is less than half of the poverty line, or about $10,000 a year for a family of four (DeNavas-Walt 2011, p. 19).

These stats can be found at:

As you read through this post, think about what you changed this year and how you can give big for the rest of the year.

What Does “Food Secure” Really Mean?

Kid empty bowl

Most people do not know how “food secure” is actually defined.  You may meet the definition of food insecurity without even knowing it!  Food Insecurity is defined as the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in a socially acceptable way.  Many residents may have the availability of foods, but the food is either not safe or not nutritionally adequate.  In Washington state, the current average number of residents that meet the definition of food insecurity is 14.6%, which is better than previous years, but is still higher than the national average.  In fact, Washington state is the 15th most food insecure state in our country.

Being food insecure puts children at a greater risk for:

  • psychosocial problems
  • more frequent colds
  • ear infections
  • anemia
  • asthma
  • headaches
  • impaired cognitive functions
  • poorer academic achievement

Our state is continually taking steps to ensure the number of food insecure families decreases.  A plan has been developed by multiple key stakeholders titled Washington State Nutrition & Physical Activity Plan.  This plan identifies key areas and recommendations to achieve a lower food insecurity rate as well as increasing healthy food and lifestyle awareness and availability.  The key initiatives recommended for improving food security are to strengthen food assistance programs and improve economic security for low-income families and individuals, and to improve access to and awareness of food assistance programs.  More information on the plan can be found at:


How to Help: giveBIG – Corporations join the fight against hunger

Do you have plans to donate to Northwest Harvest this year?  Why not do it on Tuesday and leverage giveBIG?

Tuesday, May 6th is an important day in Western Washington.  It’s the single biggest day of charitable giving in the entire year. Organized by The Seattle Foundation, GiveBIG is a one-day, online event that inspires people to give generously.

Tuesday, May 6th
12 am-11:59 pm (Pacific Time)
Click here to Donate

How about your employer, do they match donations?

A friend of mine is planning to donate to Northwest harvest during thinkBIG, while claiming the same donation through his employer matching program, which means that every dollar he donates is matched twice.

Will you do the same?