Providing nutritious food for hungry people in Pierce County is a big job, but the formula to make it happen is simple and fun with a great dinner and auction. The more funds and food donated to Emergency Food Network (EFN), the more food the organization can provide. On October 24, attendees of EFN’s annual dinner and auction arrived with non-perishable food donations totaling 375 pounds and during the event raised $315,000 – enough food and funds to provide nearly 2 million meals to hungry families and individuals throughout the community. For every dollar donated, EFN can distribute $12 worth of food. In a span of 10 minutes during the live auction, people in the room raised their bid paddles to donate more than $138,000. Many in the room were amazed at the results that 400 people achieved in such a short period of time.
“The generosity from attendees of the event was incredible,” said EFN Executive Director Helen McGovern-Pilant. “In a few seconds time three people had raised their paddle for $15,000 each. It just kept going until we were well past the donation total from any other year. Their concern for our neighbors in need was truly amazing.”
The evening began with a silent auction, and moved on to dinner, live auction, and presentations about hunger in Pierce County. Justin Henderson, Director of Harvest House, told his story of growing up in poverty as a child. His family visited food banks and he remembers often only receiving basic items like rice or dried beans. He remembers what it feels like to be hungry. He then spoke of the partnership between Harvest House and EFN, explaining that because of the nutritious food provided to their food bank by EFN, they are able to provide more than just the basics. They can now provide a balanced diet of healthy foods for the neighbors in need visiting the food bank.
Guests enjoyed a video demonstrating the true scope of Pierce County’s need, which has grown to 1.4 million visits to food sites in 2014, and 118,000 visits each month. EFN meets this need by distributing 15.3 million pounds of food annually. The auction total accounts for 15% of the operating budget.
“The connection to EFN’s mission was felt throughout the evening and was clearly evident by the enthusiastic support of our guests,” added Therese Pasquier, EFN Board of Directors Chair. “We hope everyone had a joyous night, and left knowing that they made a huge difference for the 73 food banks, meal sites, and shelters in our network. We’re grateful to all who attended, and to our Presenting Sponsors: Waste Connections and CHI Franciscan Health, Franciscan Foundation.”