On the Monday before Thanksgiving, 64 boxes of food arrived at John Muir Elementary (JME), a Title I school in the Kingsgate neighborhood of Kirkland. Over 50% of the students at John Muir are on free or reduced lunch so for some of the children the four day break from school is as much a hunger hardship as it is a holiday. “There is often a lack of awareness of how many people are going hungry these days,” comments Lynette Apley of the JME PTSA “particularly in relatively affluent communities like Kirkland. It’s really important for us to address the need at John Muir.”
The Kirkland Nourishing Network (KNN) changed this outlook for 20 families of need. KNN is one of five Nourishing Networks created to coalesce the community to unleash untapped energy and resources to address hunger at a local level. These networks bring together all kinds of community stakeholders including religious organizations, city council members, service groups, high school students, PTSA members, and concerned citizens to connect food resources to those in need. A core tenet for Nourishing Networks is not to supplant the great work going on in not for profits or in government programs today, but to fill the gap between programs by connecting different stakeholders in new ways to the perennial problems of hunger in our local community.
For this Thanksgiving project, KNN worked with JME to approximate the number of families in need and determine the right grocery list to supplement for four days. Each box is designed to supplement the nutritional needs for a family of four for two days. KNN called out for volunteers in the community to deliver a box of groceries to JME. The sixty-four boxes were sponsored within five days of the request. Sponsors included JME PTSA families, individuals, and a large contingent from the Rotary Club of Kirkland. “It was exciting to bring a box to the school today,” notes Rotarian Elizabeth Rusnak. “There was a whole room full of boxes just waiting to be picked up by the families. It’s clear we’re really making a difference here in Kirkland.”
For more information, go to http://nourishingnetworks.net.