Bellevue LifeSpring: Giving Back
Did you know that 3,600 kids are living in poverty in Bellevue? That’s 1 in 5 children! How about the staggering statistic that 300 Bellevue School District kids are experiencing homelessness?
As impressive as our Bellevue business core is and our affluent communities are, I was humbled during my recent interview with Jennifer Fischer, Executive Director of Bellevue LifeSpring. With an inspiring mission of fostering stability and self-sufficiency for Bellevue’s children and their families through programs that provide food, clothing, education and emergency assistance, Bellevue LifeSpring has its work cut out.
“Hunger is invisible,” Jennifer shared with me. “Families are faced with the hard choice of keeping a roof over their head or feeding their children.” The statistics say that some of our Bellevue families are spending up to 60% of their income on housing. I learned that because going hungry is somewhat easy to mask, Bellevue LifeSpring often finds out about children in need because of observant school counselors witnessing students coming to school without lunches over time.
Bellevue LifeSpring provides for children’s basic needs, allowing them to focus on their education and break the cycle of poverty. Their two big fundraisers throughout the year - Uncork the Night (November 2nd, 2019) and their Step up to the Plate Luncheon (March 17, 2020) - along with corporate sponsors and legacy giving, comprise Bellevue LifeSpring’s $2M budget. However, more is needed!
One of the things that captured my attention and concern was our Bellevue School District students who are served during the school year but won’t have access to food assistance programs for up to 6 weeks this summer. Bellevue LifeSpring’s Breaktime-Mealtime™ program ends hunger by distributing Safeway food cards during school breaks to children enrolled in the federal Free and Reduced-Price School Meals lunch program. This summer, there is $51,000 needed to support the 2,040 Bellevue children that have requested food support from Bellevue LifeSpring.