The Eastside Month of Concern for the Hungry, “Share What You Can,” campaign collected more than 90,000 pounds of food and nearly $15,000 in cash donations during the month-long food drive. Community members and faith organizations volunteered on Saturdays from September 24 through October 22, collecting food at local grocery stores in Bellevue, Kirkland, Issaquah, Mercer Island, Redmond, and Sammamish, in addition to other events which occurred throughout the month. These cities participated in the Month of Concern for the Hungry as a collaborative initiative among public and non-profit human service agencies spearheaded by the Eastside Human Service Forum.
This year has been especially challenging for food banks in our community due to recent, unexpected federal cuts to food programs in King County. This, coupled with the increased demand in clients needing food assistance, has created added challenges for food bank providers. Emergency Feeding Program Operations Director Brian Anderson noted how much the effort has grown in three short years. “As other sources of support have been eroding, grassroots efforts like this - people coming together to help other people – are so vitally important. And so very effective. The amount of food collected this year is incredibly impressive – food that will go right to work helping feed the increasing number of households in our community who struggle to keep adequate nutritious food on the family table. This year’s response truly makes me proud to be an Eastsider.”
The emphasis of the “Share What You Can” campaign was to fill food bank shelves with non-perishable food items before the holidays. This community-wide effort benefits local area food banks, including Hopelink, Emergency Feeding Program, ARAS Foundation, Issaquah Food Bank, Mercer Island Food Pantry, and Renewal Food Bank.