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

Mystery person leaving trash in resident’s driveway | Sammamish Police Blotter, Nov. 23 – Dec. 2

The blotter consists of officers’ accounts of crimes and other incidents in… Continue reading

Issaquah Community Services a ‘godsend’ for woman with disability

Organization hopes to raise $100,000 in sole annual fundraiser

Eastside Catholic senior chosen for Pacific Honors Ensemble Program in Australia

Eastside Catholic senior Emmie Head was named to the Pacific Honors Ensemble… Continue reading

Village Theatre’s ‘Newsies’ offers dynamic show, inspiring life lesson | Review

Disney musical examines age-old struggle between haves and have-nots

‘Great careers’ conference to inspire local students

The Issaquah Chamber of Commerce Education Committee is partnering with the Issaquah… Continue reading

Council mulls tax exemption for boost in Central Issaquah affordable housing

Transit-oriented development project set to include 176 units of affordable housing

First Santa photography business continues to capture his magic within the community

Arthur & Associates Holiday Photographers claims to be the first to take portraits of children with department store Santas.

Donations of supplies fill a quarter of the All-Star conference room. The Fall City business will take donations for the homeless through Dec. 20. (Courtesy photo)
Fall City business leads supply drive to help Tent City 4 homeless encampment

What would you need if you were living outside at this time… Continue reading

Most Read