Kirkland fills largest Nourishing Network appeal, helping school children and their families | Guest editorial

A thank you from Kirkland Nourishing Network

  • Thursday, January 4, 2018 10:59am
  • Opinion

We continue to be in awe of the huge, caring heart of our community that never wavers in the face of great challenge.

Kirkland in general, and particularly the more than 300 donors and 30 onsite volunteers, made this holiday something memorable for nearly 300 families in our neighborhoods who can’t count on having enough food to eat. We call our supporters Kirkland Angels and they have earned their wings — collecting and distributing nearly seven tons of food in one day!

Thank you, everyone.

Individuals, families and groups spread the word of the need — some even if they were unable to participate in donating food. That was vital because when those who could help heard about how the numbers had grown, they filled the largest number of food boxes in the history of Kirkland Nourishing Network. The Kiwanis Club of Kirkland stepped up to provide supplemental support to many, many families. Businesses, churches, neighbors, and acquaintances came together to do something meaningful for people they didn’t even know, except that they lived in our community and were in need. We even received complaints that all the slots had been filled — wanting to know how more help could be useful. (Your time will come.)

Sincere appreciation goes to the teachers, counselors and professional staff members in our elementary schools who help us identify where the need exists. We couldn’t do it without their caring. We have been covering all of Kirkland’s elementary schools for three years. This holiday season, we even stretched to accommodate two middle schools and that was a success after we narrowed support to some families with children in multiple schools.

KNN started five years ago and we were looking for gaps in the system. We found it in nourishment for school children during school breaks. The wonderful folks at Pantry Packs had pointed the way with their program to provide supplemental weekend food to children, usually those on free and reduced meal programs during the school week. That accounted for most weeks, but what about the four school breaks? That was where we found the gap. The Kirkland community has been stepping up with us as we established, grew and improved our support to those families with school children who are generally regarded as the neediest of the needy.

The program is attractive to a number of supporters for the efficiency of addressing a fundamental community need while keeping the commitment direct and meaningful. The act of shopping for food and taking it to our drop-off locations is an undertaking that requires enough of the donor’s time and effort to make a tangible connection to the need. The grocery list is not extravagant. It is quite simple, because the need is so fundamental.

Hours after a food box is dropped off, it is in the kitchen of one of the identified families. The looks on the faces, and sometimes the tears, of the parents and children that arrive to pick up the food makes the whole program worth it. Real need, filled with real love by neighbors. Community rarely gets as good as this. Blessings to all of you who participated in whatever way you were able.

If you were unable to participate in this effort, we will have another school break in February and we will be sending out notices at the end of January. If you are not on our email list and want to be added, just drop a note to daveasher@comcast.net.

Thank you, Kirkland!

Kirkland Nourishing Network

Lynette Apley, Toby Nixon, Kendra Petkau, Kim Convertino, Dave Asher and many more.

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