Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of children requiring food assistance in the state of Washington more than doubled from under 200,000 to more than 400,000. With no school to provide meals during the week and many parents losing their jobs, the impact is devastating to these children.
Northwest Harvest, the area’s leading hunger relief agency, geared up quickly to meet the need of food insecure individuals in Washington and Oregon through food boxes distributed across both states.
This hunger crisis was unacceptable to Seattle Mariners’ pitcher Marco Gonzales and his wife Monica, a nutritionist. They sprang into action in support of Northwest Harvest and the kids in need. “We’ve had the pleasure to get to know Northwest Harvest over the years through the Seattle Mariners’ Cares Foundation,” said Monica Gonzales. “We see the impact it has on our community and knew we had to help.”
In June, they launched the Gonzales Family Peanut Butter Drive to raise $40,000, enough to fund peanut butter sandwiches for every child in need in Washington. Each dollar raised is enough to create 10 sandwiches.
“As a nutritionist, I know that peanut butter is a great source of protein and energy for kids, while still being low in sugar. We thought this was a great way to reach the kids in need and help those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis,” said Monica.
Between the Evergreen Cares Foundation and support from the Bellevue branch, Evergreen raised $11,625, enough to provide 116,000 peanut butter sandwiches. In total, the fundraiser received $54,123 to create over 540,000 peanut butter sandwiches, more than enough to feed all the kids in need in the state.
“The Evergreen Cares Foundation and all of our associates were proud to support the Gonzales Family Peanut Butter Drive and Northwest Harvest,” said Don Burton, President, Evergreen Home Loans. “We commend Marco and Monica for their leadership. It was a great success and we’re happy to play a part in feeding children in need around the state.”
Once the drive was over, Marco and Monica visited the Northwest Harvest facility in the SoDo neighborhood of Seattle and rolled up their sleeves to make sandwiches.
“In total, we helped make 500 sandwiches during a two-and-a-half-hour shift,” said Monica. “Marco was channeling his competitive spirit to get as many done as possible while we were there. Childhood hunger is a huge issue across our country and it’s something that should be a priority for us all to address in the near future. As much as we wanted to raise funds for all of those in need, we wanted to raise awareness to the need locally.”
You can learn more about Northwest Harvest and donate today at https://www.northwestharvest.org/.