Debra Sinick

Seattle/Eastside’s Hopelink Launches Its “End Summer Hunger” Campaign in April

In Kirkland News, Kirkland WA on March 30, 2009 at 11:58 am


When school is out for the summer, many of the 11,000 children in north and east King County who receive free or reduced cost meals during the school year may go hungry.

REDMOND, Wash. – Hopelink, the largest social services agency serving east and north King County, will launch its annual “End Summer Hunger” fund and food drive in April. Presenting sponsor Expedia invites community groups, schools, businesses and our neighbors throughout the area to join in now through August and do their part to ease hunger and homelessness among our communities’ children and families.

Families made 23 percent more visits to Hopelink’s food banks between September and December 2008 than the same period in 2007. Considering the rapidly growing number of families in financial distress due to the economy and seeking help from Hopelink, this campaign is more important than ever in ensuring Hopelink’s ability to feed hungry children. The proceeds from End Summer Hunger will stock Hopelink’s six food banks for the high-demand summer months when subsidized meal programs at schools are not available and parents need more food to fill their children’s stomachs. The proceeds also support Hopelink’s homelessness prevention programs for families. In 2008, the End Summer Hunger campaign raised more than $119,000 in monetary and food donations.

Nearly 14 percent – almost 11,000 – of the children in school districts in Hopelink’s service areas in north and east King County receive free or reduced cost breakfasts and lunches during the school year. As the economy continues to stagnate, school districts expect that number to grow. Even with the help of these at-school meal programs, parents of those children struggle to meet their families’ nutrition and other basic needs. When the subsidized meal programs are not available, parents experience an even greater strain on their already stressed household budgets, and rely much more heavily on food banks to provide nutritious food for their children. Families with two working parents or a single parent who works must also find ways to pay for summer daycare for younger children, further straining the family budget. This strain sometimes even leads to an inability to pay rent or the mortgage, putting the family at risk for homelessness. Hopelink expects the situation to be even more acute as the economic decline continues.

“With the support of our community’s schoolchildren and others involved in End Summer Hunger, Hopelink works very hard to find direct, effective ways to fight poverty in our area,” said Marilyn Mason-Plunkett, President and CEO of Hopelink. “End Summer Hunger is an important tool for feeding the 11,000 children in north and east King County who otherwise may well go hungry during the summer. Furthermore, End Summer Hunger relieves the extra financial burden of providing those summertime meals for the parents of these children, which in turn contributes to their families’ financial stability.”

The grassroots End Summer Hunger campaign begins April 1 and ends August 31, and seeks support from schools, individuals, businesses, and organizations. This program is particularly important because donations to Hopelink historically drop during the summer, leaving the agency’s food banks with lower than normal supplies. Schools that support the program encourage children in classrooms to collect coins, while businesses, organizations and civic or community clubs hold food drives, fund drives, or both, according to what works best for them.

Expedia is the presenting sponsor for End Summer Hunger 2009. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, contact Eric Thom at ethom@hope-link.org or 425.558.5910.

For information on how to get involved in End Summer Hunger, go to http://www.hope-link.org or Hopelink’s website for young philanthropists, http://youthlink.hope-link.org/.

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  1. […] Hopelink has just launched its annual “End Summer Hunger” fund and food drive. They are making a strong push this year. “Considering the rapidly growing number of families in financial distress due to the economy and seeking help from Hopelink, this campaign is more important than ever in ensuring Hopelink’s ability to feed hungry children.” […]

  2. […] Hopelink has just launched its annual “End Summer Hunger” fund and food drive. They are making a strong push this year. “Considering the rapidly growing number of families in financial distress due to the economy and seeking help from Hopelink, this campaign is more important than ever in ensuring Hopelink’s ability to feed hungry children.” […]

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