By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“The Food Bank is awesome!”
That onstage exclamation from West Seattle Food Bank client Alina embodied the mood at the WSFB’s Saturday night Instruments of Change celebration.
The 12th annual celebration of the WSFB’s biggest fundraiser of the year filled the event space at the Seattle Design Center in SODO. And it helped fill the WSFB’s coffers – with silent and live auction bidding, plus Funds for Food paddle-raising, totaling $161,557 before employer matches, WSFB development director Judi Yazzolino reported today.
Also onstage was 18-year WSFB executive director Fran Yeatts, who drew a standing ovation before she even spoke a word. She introduced the staff and board members who help ensure WSFB runs smoothly in the fight against hunger – serving 11,500 people last year alone, some just once, some week in and week out.
She noted WSFB’s services and programs such as the Baby and Child Corner in partnership with WestSide Baby, and the Backpack Program. And she paid tribute to volunteers.
Yeatts introduced this year’s Instrument of Change award recipients, the CoHo Team of Windermere Agents, whose Cara Mohammadian has been a longtime WSFB board member. She accepted the award, explaining that the CoHo Team was founded almost 20 years ago, and that community support is a vital part of its mission.
Another highlight: The spotlight on Alina, a West Seattle resident who suddenly became a single mom when her marriage “fell apart” after her baby was born. Food Bank programs like the Baby Corner and bookshelf really helped, she said, adding that the stigma attached to seeking help should go away – the community should “be partners together and help each other.” Her backstory was told in a video played before she came on stage to thank WSFB supporters. That stigma had initially affected her: “When I first went to the Food Bank, I was a little ashamed,” she said, coming from an immigrant family that didn’t accept help from anyone. But meeting her daughter’s needs forced her to get over that. “The Food Bank is awesome!” she exclaimed. It provides healthy food “so my daughter’s not eating ramen. … Thank you, every single one of you.”
Food was not only what the night funded; it also inspired some of the night’s generous giving. The dessert dash, for example, saw donors winning delectable creations by WSFB supporters including these three WSB sponsors – West Seattle Thriftway, Metropolitan Market, and Salty’s on Alki.
Live and silent auctions featured an array of items from tableside cocktail preparation by Peel and Press and The Bridge, to a stay at the acclaimed Willows Lodge, to a home taco party catered by Pecado Bueno, to social-event tickets donated by Joe Jeannot, to Backpack Program founder Rosslyn Shea‘s 10-person Kenyan dinner, which went for $1,000.
(The program that provides food that kids can take home for the weekend now serves 14 West Seattle schools!) $1,900 bought a lucky bidder a week in a 3-bedroom luxury condo on the beach at Seaside, Oregon. WSFB board president Ben Viscon of Viscon Cellars (WSB sponsor) donated, with Duos, a wine dinner that went for $1,400.
The night’s success was in no small part because of community sponsors, and the WSFB acknnowledged them again in today’s wrapup:
Thanks to Nucor, HomeStreet Bank, First Lutheran Church of West Seattle, Aegis Living, Viscon Cellars and our entire group of generous sponsors for covering the majority of the cost of this event so that the proceeds can go directly to help the 11,500 individuals that we will serve this year.
Many sponsors were represented among the attendees – here’s Nam Le, West Seattle branch manager/vice president for HomeStreet Bank (which is also a WSB sponsor):
He’s also on the WSFB board, as is Rev. Ron Marshall from First Lutheran:
WSFB partners were there to enjoy the night too – below, WestSide Baby’s executive director Nancy Woodland and husband Tim Woodland:
The WS Food Bank‘s next big event is the Grand Affair cocktail party on September 21st.