In May, The Vine Church held a food drive for Nourishing Network, a program through the Foundation for Edmonds Schools which provides weekend meals for students in the district who are struggling with homelessness and hunger. The drive was greatly successful and the program was greatly supported by our efforts. Without much prompting, donations continued to accrue in the green donation bins over the summer, and they had to be emptied and transported several times. Thank you, church! If you would like to continue donating, Nourishing Network is in need of canned pasta and meat (ravioli, spaghetti), canned chicken and tuna, and juice boxes. Snack items such as granola bars are not in demand currently but may be again in the future.
This summer, Nourishing Network also served summer meals at three sites in Edmonds School District Monday thru Thursday from June 25 to August 24. Children up to age 18 were provided with free sack lunches prepared by FareStart, a rehabilitative program. Generally the meals included a fresh fruit or vegetable, a protein or dairy, and a grain item. Children were also provided with a pint of milk.
The three sites also provided enrichment activities: organized games by Move60 and educational activities by community members.
A few members of our church regularly volunteered, and the consensus was that it was an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Stephanie Ross, who volunteered once a week, “felt honored to cherish these children with three hours of supervision and food in a safe environment.” Heidi Bleeker and her three children served at a site once a week as well, for which she shared, “The opportunity to practice selflessness, kindness, patience and love towards the kids at Summer Meals has been an amazing gift.” Thank you for your service to this program, all who contributed time and effort!
Heading into the school year, weekend meals will resume and a few new pilot programs will begin. Educational assistance and tutoring will also be provided. Nourishing Network is running pop-up pantries and toiletry pantries for students in the district who are in need.
That being said, there are many ways to help serve our community! The Vine will continue to help pack weekend meals once every other month, generally on Tuesday nights.
If you have availability and a desire to serve, consider daytime help with the pantry on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Additionally, drivers are needed on Thursdays to help deliver weekend meals to individual schools.
If you can help, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be connected to the respective coordinator. Thank you!