EFN Honors Individuals and Companies That Made a Difference in 2013

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Emergency Food Network, the hub of Pierce County’s emergency food system, will present local individuals, businesses, and civic groups with awards at their April 16 Recognition Breakfast. Award recipients made significant contributions to EFN’s efforts to fight food insecurity in 2013.

Nominees will receive the Silver Spoon Award, The David P. Ottey Lifetime Achievement Award, The Corporate/Civic Partner of the Year Award, and EFN will award plaques to companies and organizations that met the criteria to be a Corporate or Civic Partner.

David P. Ottey Lifetime Achievement Award

Associated Ministries is the center for interfaith efforts in Pierce County to engage congregations in advocacy, education, and service. EFN was founded in 1982 with support from The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, FISH Food Banks, and the Salvation Army, and The Rescue Mission, as a temporary warehouse solution for emergency food needs at the time. In 1985, our community determined that with the continued growth in demand for emergency food, Associated Ministries would take over EFN as a program and hire a new Executive Director, David Ottey. In 1991, EFN became and independent nonprofit organization, but Associated Ministries continues to lend support for EFN by raising more than $125,000 every year through the Pierce County Hunger Walk. The award is named for EFN’s long-serving former Executive Director. Mr. Ottey will present the award to Associated Ministries in-person at the event.

The Silver Spoon Award

EFN’s Silver Spoon Award recognizes individuals and organizations that have a substantial impact on ending food insecurity in our region. By helping EFN with its mission “to provide a reliable food supply so that no person in Pierce County goes hungry,” recipients of this award model a commitment to giving their time and resources to meet a critical need. This year’s winners and their categories are:

Mother Earth Farm, EFN’s 8-acre organic farm in Orting
Tacoma Public Utilities employees volunteer consistently in our warehouse and at our farm, which provides fresh, organically grown produce for local food banks..

Partner Food Program
Trinity Lutheran Food Bank, a new partner in EFN’s network, increased food donations in their community from their food bank and community garden.

Volunteer Service
The Rogers High School Key Club volunteers regularly with EFN’s Repack Project for the past two years, repackaging bulk food items into smaller portions for clients. The Key Club also provides volunteer support for events, such as our Abundance Auction.

Foundation Partner
The Franciscan Foundation, for valuable committee, financial, Board and event support from Franciscan Health System employees and Foundation members.

Substantial Collection Effort
Pierce County Library System, for their annual Pierce County Reads Food Drive, which consistently collects thousands of pounds of food at multiple locations for the emergency food system.

Food System Support
The Transportation Club of Tacoma, for their annual fundraising luncheon for EFN, and to its members for logistics and transportation support throughout the emergency food system.

Corporate Partner of the Year
LaborWorks, for outstanding leadership, consistent logistical assistance at EFN events, and for strong financial support.

In addition to these award recipients, EFN also will give plaques to companies and organizations that qualified as Corporate or Civic Partners in 2013. Corporate/Civic Partners have a special tie to EFN. They engage in efforts to fight hunger and receive distinction for their work each year for their efforts. 2014 Corporate and Civic Partners include:

Bank of America, Boeing, Chuckals, City of Lakewood, DaVita, Financial Insights, Franciscan Health System, Gig Harbor Sportsman’s Club, JBLM, KeyBank, LaborWorks, MultiCare, Murray Pacific, PLU, Pierce College, Pierce County, Rotary District 5020, Schnitzer, Simpson, Snuffins Catering, TPCAR, Teamsters 117, TOTE, Transportation Club, Waste Connections.

These partners are being recognized on for meeting three of the following seven criteria in 2013:

  • Contribute $1000 or more to EFN.
  • Host a food or fund drive
  • Featuring EFN or placing a link to www.efoodnet.org on your company website
  • Have an employee serve on EFN’s board or on a committee
  • Purchase a table at EFN’s Abundance Auction
  • Bringing a group to volunteer at EFN’s warehouse or farm
  • Go above and beyond in a special way for EFN

Each month in Pierce County an average of 117,000 children, seniors and adults seek help at local food banks and hot meal sites.  In 2013, EFN distributed 15.6 million pounds of food at no cost through its warehouse operation. EFN is able to leverage food purchased in bulk and donated food to distribute $12 worth of food for every $1 received.

To learn more about EFN or to obtain a food drive information packet, visit www.efoodnet.org or call (253) 584-1040.

Break Bags Provide Food to Low-Income Families with Students

Break Bags Logo 1The Emergency Food Network and the St. Leo Food Connection are partnering on a new program – BREAK BAGS – that will provide low-income families with students in the Clover Park and Tacoma Public School Districts with food for the upcoming spring break.

Thousands of children in Pierce County School Districts rely on free and reduced-fee meals during the school day. When holiday weeks arrive, these kids often struggle to get enough

nutritious food at home.  The St. Leo Food Connection has been providing two-days worth of food for children in Tacoma and Lakewood schools every Friday through the school year since January 2008, but until now has not been able to provide larger bags of food for families over extended school breaks.

“We are often asked what we do for the extended school breaks.  Until now the answer has been nothing.  Partnering with the Emergency Food Network is allowing us to help bridge the nutrition gap that occurs when children are not able to access school meals,” said St. Leo Food Connection Director Kevin Glackin-Coley.

The Emergency Food Network is providing food for the program, and volunteers will be packing the Break Bags (donated by Schnitzer Steel) at their Lakewood warehouse on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 26th. Helen McGovern, Executive Director of the Emergency Food Network noted “there are so many wonderful organizations providing baskets during the holidays.  Our goal is to provide them with an opportunity to spread that same generosity out over the entire school year.  There will be a hands on activity for donors and the money that they may now be spending on one basket will provide food for an entire week for the same families.  Win-win!!”

The 500 bags will include fresh produce as well as shelf stable staples such as rice, pasta, beans and peanut butter and will be delivered by St. Leo Food Connection and Emergency Food Network volunteers to the partner schools for students to take home on March 28th.  Partner schools include 5 Clover Park (Lake Louise, Tillicum, Dower, Custer, Lochburn) and 7 Tacoma (McCarver, Blix, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Larchmont, Birney, and Lister) Public Schools.

The need for the program is highlighted by a 2013 report from the Children’s Alliance that estimates that 440,000 children in Washington, or 25%, live in households where there’s not enough food for everyone to eat.  The report also noted that hunger is growing more rapidly in Washington than in most other states.  Hungry children suffer from health problems such as unwanted weight loss, fatigue, headaches and frequent colds.  They are more likely to be ill and absent from school and typically cannot concentrate or do as well as others when they are at school.

EFN Hires Volunteer Coordinator

MerritEmergency Food Network recently hired Merrit Hoeh (pronounced “Hey”) as their new Volunteer Coordinator. Merrit joins Emergency Food Network with five years of experience with non-profits, most recently as the Volunteer Coordinator with the Pacific Crest Trails Association.

Her responsibilities include managing more than 2,000 volunteers annually who help with EFN’s warehouse Repack Project and throughout the growing season at Mother Earth Farm, and she will work with community groups to coordinate fund drives and food drives.

“We could not be more pleased to have Merrit on our team,” said Executive Director Helen McGovern. “We are only able to distribute more than 15 million pounds of food annually with the support of volunteers who contribute their time and experience to help to feed hungry people in our community. I know that groups that volunteer here will love interacting with Merrit.”

Merrit is originally from Wyoming but has lived throughout the Northwest for the past ten years (with a brief stint in Missouri). She graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, camping, gardening, and chopping firewood. Says Hoeh, “I am very excited to join Emergency Food Network’s team. It allows me to continue to follow my passion for working with volunteers and serving the local community.

Interested in volunteering in our Warehouse or at Mother Earth Farm? Want to host a food drive or fund drive? Contact Merrit at merrit@efoodnet.org.

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Emergency Food Network is hosting the second annual Breaking Hunger Trap Shooting Tournament in Gig Harbor on Friday, August 9. We are in need of ten volunteers from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm to help keep score, collect tickets, and register participants. Dinner is provided at no cost!
  • In the beautiful Puyallup Valley is Emergency Food Network’s eight-acre organic farm. This farm-to-table operation provides a fresh and nutritious food option to individuals and families in need within our community. Volunteers are invited to lend a hand Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm as we pull weeds and harvest berries, tomatoes, onions, carrots, and squash.
  • Our popular Repack Project has several upcoming openings! Volunteers join us at our Distribution Center to help repackage bulk food donations into smaller, family sized quantities. Once repackaged the food is ready to be distributed to community members in need. Opportunities are available on August 3, 15, and 24.

Emergency Food Network’s mission is “to provide a reliable food supply so that no person in Pierce County goes hungry.” EFN distributes nutritious, staple food to 67 food banks, shelters, and hot meal sites in Pierce County. They do this through a combination of sources, including purchased food, food donated from grocery stores and food distributors, food received from food drives, fruits and vegetables gleaned from residential gardens and area farms, and food grown at EFN’s 8-acre organic Mother Earth Farm. Eighty percent of all food in the county makes its way through EFN’s 22,000 square-foot warehouse in Lakewood.

For information about the Emergency Food Network, to donate, or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit www.efoodnet.org