Hunger Ingenuity

2014 Food Lifeline Excellence Awards

Fresh and ingenious approaches are needed to solve a chronic problem like hunger. To foster a spirit of innovation in hunger relief, Food Lifeline annually recognizes food programs in its Western Washington network that are successfully trying new approaches to feeding hungry people. Better yet, the award winning approaches are replicable and are shared with 275 other food programs in Food Lifeline’s network at our annual conference in March.

This year’s Excellence Awards are varied in their approaches, but united in bringing a spirit of innovation to their food assistance programs.

The 2014 Food Lifeline Excellence Awards winners are:

Kathleen McLaughlin McCabe of Good Cheer Food Bank and Tiffani Kaech of Food LifelineSOUTH WHIDBEY GOOD CHEER

EXCELLENCE IN FOOD RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT – Langley, WA

Good Cheer’s Fresh Food on the Table program has dramatically increased locally grown fresh produce at the food bank and given the community a tangible way to be involved in fighting hunger. Fresh Food on the Table combines an organic vegetable garden on-site at the food bank and also recruits home gardeners to supply their own produce. With this program, families visiting the food bank now take home an average of 2.3# of fresh vegetables every week, up from only 0.1 #s just five years ago.  Benefits noted by food bank clients due to the increase in fresh vegetables include having more energy, lower blood pressure and a better attitude in general.

Patrick Dunn of Phinney Neighborhood Association and Tiffani Kaech of Food LifelinePHINNEY NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION

EXCELLENCE IN COMMUNITY RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT – Seattle, WA

When a hot meal program for low-income people is in one of Seattle’s fastest growing neighborhoods, it needs to find ways to build the community’s investment in its continuation. The Phinney Neighborhood Association has done just this with its annual fundraiser, the Phabulous Phinney Pig Out. While hunger can be a complex issue to discuss, the Pig Out provides an open and welcoming invitation for Phinney’s entire community to participate and bond with their Hot Meals program. Over the last 10 years the event’s participating businesses have doubled, along with the revenue. Better yet, the increased community awareness has resulted in more year-round volunteers and donations.

Elizabeth Grant of Snohomish Community Food Bank and Tiffani Kaech of Food LifelineSNOHOMISH COMMUNITY FOOD BANK

EXCELLENCE IN COLLABORATION –Snohomish, WA

What if you had a resource right in front of you that could help your community? The leadership at Snohomish Community Food Bank realized they had a key to helping local schools by collecting literally thousands of Box Tops for Education and Campbell Soup Labels that come thru the food bank and donating them to their local elementary schools. The schools are then able to redeem these for supplies. And since one good deed deserves another, the local schools reward the food bank for its generosity by donating over 20,000 pounds of food every year thru fundraisers and food drives. The food bank’s clients are even involved, receivingan extra can of food and a hearty thank you for every label they bring in to the food bank.  This is a strong example of a food bank inspiring generosity by modeling it.

Jennifer Hardson of South Kitsap Helpline and Tiffani Kaech of Food LifelineSOUTH KITSAP HELPLINE

EXCELLENCE IN CLIENT SERVICE –Port Orchard

Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, snap peas, and carrots. These are likely not the foods you picture when you think of a food bank. And yet this is exactly what you’ll find at the South Kitsap Helpline. In 2009 they moved to a new location, which was a former plant nursery. Since then, they have used the on-site greenhouses and gardens to grow healthy vegetables and herbs for their clients and also to grow starts and flowers to sell to benefit their programs. In addition to the bountiful produce, clients now also receive recipes and food preservation information to help them make the most of this produce. 

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