At the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club’s morning meeting Feb. 16, Adam Mihlstin, club’s community service chair and Tom Leonidas, the club’s major grant committee chair presented a check for $39,500 to Cori Walters, the executive director of the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank. This donation will support the food bank’s purchase of a refrigerated delivery truck.
According to a 2017 Brookings Institution study, poverty in the United States has long been associated with large urban centers or rural communities, where it has historically been most concentrated. However, the rapid rise of poverty in the 2000s touched a broad swath of communities across the country, moving well beyond its historic homes. Relatively strong regional economies like the Washington, D.C. and Seattle metro areas also shared in these trends, posting above-average upticks in the number of suburban residents living in poverty between 2000 and 2015 (66 and 63 percent, respectively).
To tackle this growing problem, the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank has 200 volunteers a week loading and unloading food and other items into and out of personal vehicles and one small van that the food bank owns. Because Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank provides perishables, the organization is limited to the amount of people it can serve and the communities it can reach.
Cori Walters noted that “With the new delivery truck, [Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank] anticipates increasing food intake and output by 50,000 lbs. per year. This will support a real need for families requiring our services and we thank Rotary for their commitment to making a difference in the community.”
The delivery truck will support a geographic area that includes, Carnation (north), Snoqualmie (east), Covington (south) and Lake Washington (west), where the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank serves 400 households weekly comprised of an average of 1,200 individuals. There are many delivery miles to make sure its customers have access to nutritious and fresh food.
Currently, the food and clothing bank services these remotes areas, where families aren’t able to get to the food bank’s warehouse, which is located just a few blocks south of the Issaquah library and City Hall. To help these families the organization is committed to providing quality food, clothing and other items to its customers. They have a special emphasis on healthy foods and work hard to get fresh, local produce into the homes of its customers. The Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank is operating to provide other essential needs for families: clothing, household items, toiletries and diapers.
With support from neighboring Issaquah and Sammamish Rotary clubs and Rotary District 5030, Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club secured $39,500. Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank will contribute additional donations it has received towards the purchase of the truck and will be responsible for the on-going maintenance.
Adam Mihlstin stated “It’s wonderful to see the power of Rotary’s organization come together in meeting the community’s needs. To support our neighbors with basic yet essential food and clothing is incredibly rewarding. Distance will no longer be a challenge when the delivery truck is purchased and fully operational.”
Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club President, Kaj Pedersen added, “At the [Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club] we are continually looking for opportunities to make a difference in the community. It’s great when we can work with other Rotary clubs and widen our impact. Thanks to Adam Mihlstin and Tom Leonidas for spearheading this effort and raising the necessary funds to get this project off the ground. This is the power of Rotary and its ability to make a difference!”