Members of the National Guard pack food boxes last month at the Northwest Harvest warehouse in Kent for distribution to food banks. COURTESY PHOTO, Northwest Harvest

Members of the National Guard pack food boxes last month at the Northwest Harvest warehouse in Kent for distribution to food banks. COURTESY PHOTO, Northwest Harvest

Individual donors contribute more than $1M to address hunger in state

Bezos Family Foundation, other charities contribute additional $2.3M

Washington residents are enthusiastically responding to the call to help their neighbors with hunger relief, donating more than $1 million to the WA Food Fund over the last four weeks – in addition to $2.3 million contributed by corporate and private foundations.

“Battling hunger is a moving target during these unprecedented times. At the moment, we are projecting a need of $11 million over the next two weeks to fill gaps in support,” said Kiran Ahuja, CEO of Philanthropy Northwest, which is managing the WA Food Fund, in a news release. “Even as our communities and economies begin to recover from this crisis, many families will continue to face hunger and joblessness. We’re incredibly grateful to the organizations and individuals who have donated so far – and in the coming weeks, we urge our corporate and philanthropic neighbors and community members to contribute if we’re going to ensure there is food on every table.”

Washington state officials report that over 2 million residents need food assistance, and an additional $10 million is needed to meet the demand at food banks and pantries. According to the state’s latest unemployment report, more than 800,000 people were out of work in Washington – which is 2.5 times the amount witnessed during the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009.

Gov. Jay Inslee and Philanthropy Northwest launched the WA Food Fund April 7 to raise funds to keep food banks and pantries across the state stocked. Recent corporate and foundation contributions include:

● Bezos Family Foundation – $400,000

● Amazon – $100,000

● Washington State Auto Dealers $50,000

● Jon & Mary Shirley Foundation – $50,000

● Chris Rurik – $30,000

● Scan|Design Foundation – $25,000

● Kuhn Family Foundation – $25,000

● William E. Wockner Foundation – $25,000

● Denise Anderson Charitable Gift Trust – $10,000

● Evan and Sara Robinson – $10,000

● Joseph and Bich-Ha Nguyen – $10,000

● WEA Retired – $10,000

● Martin Fabert Foundation – $7,500

“Right now, families across our state need our help more than ever and we need all hands on deck if we’re going to overcome this crisis,” said Elyse Rowe, director of communications at the Bezos Family Foundation. “We’re encouraging Washingtonians everywhere – from our fellow philanthropic and corporate organizations, to community members across the state – to contribute if they can. No family should have to worry about their next meal in this time of uncertainty.”

Donations to the WA Food Fund are being directed to three organizations which supply food pantries across the state: Food Lifeline; Northwest Harvest; and Second Harvest. To contribute to the WA Food Fund, visit wafoodfund.org.


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