(UPDATED MONDAY with fundraising tally from Saturday’s event)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“Tonight we are here to be sure all our friends and neighbors in West Seattle have enough to eat.”
The celebration at the Seattle Design Center honored a job that can’t go undone – but, the WSFB’s 17-year executive director Fran Yeatts (above), acknowledged, would ideally be unnecessary. “I am really sorry that we have to do this work,” she began, while explaining that it will make a difference for about 10,000 people in the community this year – some, just once; some, over and over again. Ten thousand also is how many people in West Seattle live below the federal poverty level, according to a video shown at the event.
The stats are eye-opening:
*1.8 million pounds of food to be distributed this year
*35,000 pounds a week
*Up to 250 households served by mobile food bank and home deliveries
*Backpack Program serves up to 400 children each weekend
*Bookcase Program up to 10000 donated books
*Pet Pantry up to 12,000 pounds of donated food
Since moving to the shopping model last year, up to 40 percent more households have been coming through their doors. And about 20 percent of those nearly 2 million pounds of food delivered to all those people has to be purchased, rather than received as donations.
The WSFB has many partners. Each year at this event, one is honored with the Instrument of Change Award – this year, the honoree is locally owned grocery store West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor).
On hand to accept the award were Brian Bixenman, store director (above left), and owner Paul Kapioski (above right)– another reason for the store to celebrate this year, along with its 30th anniversary.
Thriftway was honored for giving to the WSFB in a multitude of ways, donating thousands of pounds of food, as well as cash through a receipt turn-in program, and its annual shopping-spree raffle (in which, the WSFB notes, the winner often donates the shopping-spree food to the WSFB, which becomes a double winner in the deal).
“We’re just a small family-owned grocery store that’s trying to help the community,” Kapioski said in accepting the award. “We’re happy to be part of this community and help in any way we can.”
And Ben Viscon, president of the WSFB board – on which he’s served for nine years – said the need increased exponentially over the past year, bigger than it’s been in the food bank’s 30 years.
“Folks that were never on the bubble before, are on the bubble.” He ticked off numbers from the headlines. One in three people in the neighborhood come to WSFB for something. “This is a growth number we don’t want to have.” He also talked about the dignity of the shopping model to which WSFB moved. His role is to “push what’s next, how can we serve better,” he said, in asking eventgoers to dig a little deeper into their pockets.
The event featured live and silent auctions. Many of the items were very personal to the donors – for example, longtime WSFB volunteer Rosslyn Shea, a local public-school worker who launched the Backpack Program, donated an authentic Kenyan dinner for 10, which went for $1400.
Shea grew up in Kenya. Other donated auction items included getaways, sports-ticket packages, jewelry, even an audio system.
WSB was a co-sponsor of Instruments of Change. Other sponsors include these local businesses/organizations who are also on the WSB sponsor team: CHI Franciscan Health, HomeStreet Bank, Metropolitan Market, Quail Park Memory Care Residences of West Seattle, Verity Credit Union, Viscon Cellars. Table hosts included another WSB sponsor, NCompass Construction:
Leaders of other nonprofits are a fixture at Instruments of Change, as the organizations work to support each other in lifting up our community’s neediest people. Seen next to table host Amy Daly-Donovan (second from left below) was one whose own organization had its own successful fundraiser just three weeks earlier (also emceed by Lindsay), Nancy Woodland of WestSide Baby:
Big night for the Food Bank’s development director Judi Yazzolino, below right with C & P Coffee (WSB sponsor) co-proprietor Cameron Moores:
We’ll add the fundraising tally when it’s available. (The Dessert Dash alone raised $14,000, Lindsay announced.) Couldn’t be there? Here’s how to help the WSFB, any time.
ADDED MONDAY: Judi Yazzolino updates us: “Total for Instruments of Change is $160,705, not counting any employer matches. This is $12,000 more than last year’s total of $148,400. A huge heartfelt thank you to our sponsors & guests from the West Seattle Food Bank!”