At the eighth annual Helping Kids Thrive Luncheon, held on Wednesday at the Meydenbauer in Bellevue, Eastside Baby Corner displayed examples of the items it donates to families in need. Eastside Baby Corner provides children in need with everything from their first bicycle to basic toiletries. Nicole Jennings/staff photo

At the eighth annual Helping Kids Thrive Luncheon, held on Wednesday at the Meydenbauer in Bellevue, Eastside Baby Corner displayed examples of the items it donates to families in need. Eastside Baby Corner provides children in need with everything from their first bicycle to basic toiletries. Nicole Jennings/staff photo

Issaquah’s Eastside Baby Corner luncheon raises over $335,000 for ‘brighter futures’

Nonprofit provides clothing, diapers and more to children in four counties

As the lights went down and the Meydenbauer’s banquet room was plunged into darkness, tiny lights flickered at every table, giving the effect of hundreds of stars in the night sky.

Using the flashlights they had found at their seats upon arrival, guests were responding to the call to be a beacon of hope for children in need.

Eastside Baby Corner’s eighth annual Helping Kids Thrive Luncheon, held on Wednesday at Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Center and this year themed “Simple Ideas for Brighter Futures,” literally shone a light on the difficulties facing children whose families are struggling to get by financially.

The luncheon raised over $335,000 for Eastside Baby Corner and drew about 865 attendees. KING 5 news anchor Steve Bunin acted as emcee.

The Issaquah-based nonprofit, which also has hubs in Kenmore and Bremerton, provides clothing, baby formula, diapers, toys, car seats, toiletries and more to children from birth through age 12, as well as provides maternity clothing and other necessities for expectant mothers. Over 80,000 items are given to children in need each year in King, Kitsap, south Snohomish and west Pierce counties.

“Eastside Baby Corner is a very simple idea with profound results,” stated Kim Foster, who co-chaired the luncheon with her husband Dan Foster.

Keynote speaker Benjamin Hoffman, a Portland pediatrician and former chief resident at Seattle Children’s Hospital, told the audience that 40 percent of kids in Washington come from low-income families, and one in 10 children live in deep poverty.

In expensive Washington state, Hoffman said, even households with two working parents often struggle to make rent.

“You can work full-time and still not even crack the poverty line,” he said.

Poverty can actually impact a child’s brain development. Living with the stress and disadvantages of a low-income background “builds a brain that’s not gonna be able to do what it needs to do,” Hoffman explained.

Unfortunately, Hoffman said, an overwhelming majority of charity dollars are given to children after their brains have mostly developed; it is the first 1,000 days of life that are the most crucial. This is why physicians “need partners like Eastside Baby Corner,” Hoffman said.

He pointed out that because no child has the ability to vote, children lack the power that is needed to effect change.

“We need you to give power to kids — to take over the ability to act and advocate on their behalf,” he said.

Kathy Wood, Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program family support specialist with the Issaquah School District, spoke about the people she helps every single day, such as Monica, a single mother raising first- and second-grade daughters.

“I could not give them a sense of hope if it wasn’t for Eastside Baby Corner,” Wood said.

For more information about how to volunteer or make a donation, visit www.babycorner.org.

A typical “big bundle” given to a little boy, with enough clothes to last for a week. Nicole Jennings/staff photo

A typical “big bundle” given to a little boy, with enough clothes to last for a week. Nicole Jennings/staff photo

A young girl’s “big bundle.” Nicole Jennings/staff photo

A young girl’s “big bundle.” Nicole Jennings/staff photo

Nicole Jennings/staff photo

Nicole Jennings/staff photo

Pediatrician Benjamin Hoffman gives the keynote address, focused on advocating for children from low-income backgrounds. Nicole Jennings/staff photo

Pediatrician Benjamin Hoffman gives the keynote address, focused on advocating for children from low-income backgrounds. Nicole Jennings/staff photo

With the luncheon’s theme of “Simple Ideas for Brighter Futures,” guests shone flashlights to represent how they plan to be a beacon of hope for needy children. Nicole Jennings/staff photo

With the luncheon’s theme of “Simple Ideas for Brighter Futures,” guests shone flashlights to represent how they plan to be a beacon of hope for needy children. Nicole Jennings/staff photo

About 865 people attended the luncheon, which raised $335,000. Nicole Jennings/staff photo

About 865 people attended the luncheon, which raised $335,000. Nicole Jennings/staff photo

More in News

A water skier powers along Lake Sammamish on July 13. Andy Nystrom / staff photo
Shredding on Lake Sammamish

A water skier powers along Lake Sammamish on July 13. Andy Nystrom… Continue reading

An example of a fish culvert that prevents fish from migrating through it. Creative commons
Fish culverts ruling will increase price tag for the state

The state will be on the line for $3.7 billion for fish culvert replacements.

State House races heat up in 41st District with two up-for-grabs positions

District covers Mercer Island and portions of Bellevue, Renton and Issaquah.

Water district starts earthquake pump pilot program

The Northeast Sammamish Sewer and Water District is planning to upgrade all its facilities.

SAATWA Board President Aseem Chipalkatti gives an opening speech to those who were in attendance Sunday afternoon. Hanson Lee/staff photo.
South Asian organizations look to take political action and advocacy to the next level

SAATWA and SAPAC are planning to push for political involvement and the political values of Washington’s South Asian community.

Lawyer moms, community protest immigration issues at Reichert’s office

Lawyer moms mobilize nationwide protest for immigration issues

Barrier that protects Eastside water to be repaired

The barrier protects a pipeline that delivers water to various Eastside cities and Seattle.

Safe consumption part 3: The opposite of addiction

Final episode of our three-part series on controversial supervised consumption sites

The many hurdles from farm to table

From environmental regulations to expensive land, local farmers have a lot on their plate

Most Read