The formula for providing healthy, nutritious, staple food for Pierce County’s hungry is pretty simple. The more funds and food donated to Emergency Food Network, the more food the organization can provide. In a three hour span on October 26, attendees at EFN’s annual auction raised enough funds to provide nearly 1.5 million meals to food insecure families and individuals. In a span of 8 minutes during the live auction, people in the room raised their bid paddles to donate $104,000. Many in the room were amazed at the results that 400 people achieved in such a short period of time.

“It was absolutely incredible,” said EFN Executive Director Helen McGovern. “You blinked, and three people raised their paddle for $10,000 each. Then seconds later more people donated $5,000 each. It just kept going until we were well past our totals from any other year. I’ve always said that it takes a system of generosity to do the work that we do, and there were some amazing parts of that system at our auction that night in the McGavick Center.”

“The engagement that folks in the room felt with the EFN mission was contagious throughout the evening, evidenced by their record breaking support,” added EFB Board President Al Bacon. “Through the displays of giving, the obvious passion of our EFN staff, and the heart-felt speech from a beneficiary of EFN’s service, our attendees knew their support would make a real, tangible impact on the bold mission of ending hunger in Pierce County. I’m certain all those who came to the EFN auction walked out saying “I had fun,” but more importantly they all left knowing they made a difference. To me, that’s our biggest success of the evening.”

Including support from the silent auction, live item, raffle, dozens of sponsors, and the event’s Presenting Sponsors, Waste Connection and the Franciscan Foundation, EFN raised $253,000 on the evening, at least $40,000 more than any prior year. Considering EFN’s ability to distribute $12 worth of food for every $1 donated, EFN’s powers of multiplication will have a huge impact on the food system.

Pierce County food programs will receive more than 1.3 million visits in 2012, roughly 50% more than in 2008. Each visit costs EFN about $1.55, and clients leave a food bank with enough food for an average of 9 meals.

“We will be able to provide food for over 100,000 client visits with the funds that we raised. This will feed our entire county for a little more than one month,” said McGovern.

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