Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank has reworked its annual Lake Sammamish Fireworks Show fundraiser by canceling the fireworks, but keeping the fundraiser.
To adhere to safety guidelines, but still be able to raise funds for children facing food insecurity, event sponsors John Kritsonis and Karl Lindor of Windermere Real Estate have provided $25,000 to match donations of over $100.
Last year, the food bank raised $45,000 with the fundraiser, exceeding their goal and raising more than they ever had despite not having the fireworks show.
“The general public is very well aware of the economic impact that the pandemic has had on everybody, but especially on mid- to low-income people,” said Bonnie DeCaro-Monahan, development director for the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank. “We are at an advantage in that there is a newfound awareness of the importance of basic needs. We also live in a very compassionate and generous community.”
Because of community support, Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank has been able to continue offering fresh, perishable foods over the past year, unlike many food banks that have had to switch to non-perishable and canned foods only.
In 2020, food insecurity for children in King County increased by 54%, according to Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank. DeCaro-Monahan said their programs served about 1,200 school-aged children.
“We decided to expand the fundraiser to cover all of our youth feeding programs [this year] for multiple reasons, namely that we really want families to know that we’re running youth feeding programs throughout the year,” DeCaro-Monahan said. “The more people that know that, the more people can access those resources.”
The food bank offers several programs to provide meals to teens and children throughout the year during times when they are not receiving food from their schools, including weekends, school holidays and summer break.
During the 2020-2021 school year, the food and clothing bank expanded their Power Pack program, which provided weekend meals, to extend throughout the week because students were not at school to receive free or reduced lunches.
“There are 15,000 people in our 110-square-mile service area that are food insecure,” DeCaro-Monahan said. “We served about 6,000 people last year, so that’s a pretty big gap of people out there that are food insecure that aren’t accessing resources. We always want to be mindful that those people are out there and we want to make sure that they know that we are here.”
Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank’s programs are all free. Learn what resources are available at issaquahfoodbank.org.