Thursday, November 29, 2007

Work For Food!

Believe it or not I've decided to “work for food” in 2008. I plan to donate a portion of my personal real estate commissions to support local food banks and soup kitchens in an effort to raise $15,000.

I got the idea after driving to my mother’s home for Thanksgiving. While stopped at a light I saw a woman with a sign that read “Anything Helps.” This is a common sight but it prompt me to act.

My normal reaction to this situation is to act as though the homeless person is not there. If I can, I block my view so I don’t make eye contact. I then sit there feeling uncomfortable waiting for the light to change wishing I knew of a way to help, other than by giving them my spare change.

I’ve been acting out this same scene for years, but I’ve decided to do something about it in 2008.

There are over 8,000 homeless people living in Seattle. I intend to support two non-profits that are close to my office in Ballard, the Ballard Food Bank and the Phinney Neighborhood Association’s (PNA) Soup Kitchen.

The Ballard Food Bank’s mission is to assist individuals and families in maintaining self-sufficiency by providing assistance for basic needs. “We distribute food, clothing and personal hygiene items. In addition, we also have a meal program that provides three hot lunches a week, and we hold mail for those with no permanent address. These services are offered to Ballard, Queen Anne and Magnolia families who are having trouble making ends meet,” says Executive Director Nancy McKinney. “The majority of our income comes from private donations.”

According to Ann Bowden, Development Director of the PNA, “Our soup kitchen serves three meals a week, two lunches and one dinner. We feed 200-250 homeless, low income, elderly and disabled people each week or more than 22,000 each year.” The PNA partners with two churches, St. John United Lutheran on Phinney Ridge and Calvary Lutheran in Ballard. Much of the food comes from Northwest Harvest and Food Lifeline. The soup kitchen requires one staff person and 5 to 6 volunteers to run and is a substantial expense to the PNA’s budget each year.

In a final gesture of goodwill, I will make the donations in the name of my clients. Even though the money will come from my personal proceeds, I’d like my clients to feel part of the giving experience.

For more information I can be contacted at 206-930-8238,, or .

For more information on the Ballard Food Bank or the PNA visit and .

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