As I sat at a red light earlier today, I saw a man cross the street and begin to look through a trash can for food. He wasn't worried about having gloves or a mask or social distancing; he was just worried about finding his next meal. While my friends and I are complaining about being stuck in our homes, there are more than 12,000 people in Seattle without a home to be stuck in. More than 1.2 million people across Washington state turned to a food bank or meal plan program in the last year, and this number is growing exponentially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This really put everything into perspective for me.
In looking into volunteering at a local food bank or soup kitchen, I found that due to COVID-19, most of them are closed or limiting operations. The few that remain open are really struggling as they are forced to limit volunteers and have transitioned to pre-boxed meals. Donated food of the right type and volume to meet health and safety guidelines is not sufficiently available to meet the needs of food banks. This means that food banks and distributors like Food Lifeline are directly purchasing all of their food, at a cost estimated to be millions of dollars each week.
Of course, all of us are struggling in our own ways right now as COVID-19 has destroyed much of our sense of normalcy and ease in our lives. Although all of our fear, confusion, and disappointment is valid, most of us are still so lucky. I am trying to approach every day from a place of gratitude and appreciation for all the resources I have. I believe it is so important to recognize our privilege and use that recognition for good.
A donation of just $30 could provide enough pre-packaged food to feed one family of four- for four days. $120 could provide enough food to feed eight families of four- for four days. But of course, anything and everything helps.
Instead of using my money for online shopping or ordering takeout, I am donating to Food Lifeline because I feel so lucky and I am disgusted by the unequal distribution of wealth in our country - a gap that is visible in our day to day lives.
I created this virtual food drive to encourage everyone, especially teenagers like me, to BE GRATEFUL and GIVE BACK!!! Everyone in Seattle and in America and in the world should have access to food, and donating to Food Lifeline is a great way to start. Please join me in this effort! :)
**More About Food Lifeline: Charity Navigator 4-stars (overall score: 93 out of 100)
Food Lifeline has been working to end hunger in Western Washington for more than 40 years and is the largest hunger-relief organization in Washington State. By using 96% of our revenue to feed people facing hunger, we are efficient, effective, and make the most of every donation. Food Lifeline provides nutritious food to hundreds of thousands of people facing hunger every year by sourcing nutritious food from a variety of food industry partners.
Last year, Food Lifeline distributed more than 58 million pounds of food to our network of more than 300 local food banks, meal programs, and shelters. Food Lifeline partners with large-scale food producers, retailers, and distributors to ensure that unmarketable but still edible and nutritious food ends up in the hands of people facing hunger rather than going to waste.