The Bellevue School District’s Family Connections Centers (FCCs) have received an outpouring of support since the beginning of the pandemic. “We are going through this as a community – and we are a strong community,” says Melissa Slater, Equity Project Leader and National Board Program Coordinator as well as BSD’s Family Connections Centers coordinator. While Bellevue is generally perceived as a wealthy community without a population in need of support, there are many families in Bellevue in need of support and the need is growing in the face of the ongoing pandemic.
Through BSD’s ongoing partnership with Bellevue LifeSpring, several thousand students experiencing food insecurity receive grocery vouchers every 4-6 weeks and have since the pandemic began. Recently Amazon announced a partnership with Bellevue LifeSpring on behalf of BSD students. As part of this partnership, Amazon is granting 1.4 million dollars, paid out over 2 years, to Bellevue LifeSpring to help fund items such as grocery vouchers, clothing vouchers and rent assistance for BSD students and families that need them most.
Contributions from community partners are made possible by the people in the community who contribute to non-profit organizations and by generous corporate partners. “Bellevue is unique because there is a lot of passion and a lot of compassion,” says Slater. “There are people who are generous and who want to make a difference for those that need it most.”
BSD also received $160,000 from the City of Bellevue in CARES Act funds to be used for food, hygiene and cleaning items to be distributed to families in need from FCC sites. The FCCs also receive support from many non-profit organizations and individual donors, it takes everyone helping to meet the current level of need. Amazon contributed headphones for students who needed them for remote learning and Backpack Meals for Kids, who have always supported students with weekend meals to go home, are now providing bulk food items to the FCCs. “There are so many amazing community partners doing critical work on behalf of our students and families,” said Slater.
The Tzu Chi Charity team has provided ongoing support to our Family Connections Centers for some time. They regularly donate items like non-perishable food, fresh produce, hygiene items, cleaning supplies, face coverings and clothing. “We are so thankful to the Tzu Chi Charity team for their generosity, partnership and their commitment to our community all year long” says Slater.
The Bacon Family Foundation has an ongoing partnership with both Stevenson and Lake Hills elementary school FCCs and provides food cards and more. During the pandemic, the foundation has also contributed funds to be used for food and hygiene items and committed to help fund staffing at FCCs for Winter Break. Families Helping Families has an ongoing partnership with BSD and this year donated 550 Thanksgiving meal bags for families that needed them most. Jubilee Reach has also had an ongoing partnership with BSD and since the beginning of the pandemic, staff at Jubilee Reach have made a commitment to feed a significant number of families. They have run a Grocery Program that has provided groceries to roughly 700 families each and every week.
BSD is very appreciative of all of our community partners. This is just a snapshot of the amazing work that is happening in our community. We will continue to feature the generous contributions of our partners and BSD staff who are working to support families every day.