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Hunt for Hunger: A Food Drive for the Auburn Food Bank

Every year thousands of children flock to Lakeland Hills Park for the community’s Easter Egg Hunt.
Sadly, this year the annual tradition has been canceled to comply with the State of Washington and CDC mandate eliminating public gatherings. Canceling the hunts has not stopped the events’ sponsors from hopping into action to put together another event to bring together the community: the Hunt For Hunger food drive, supporting the Auburn Food Bank.

“In lieu of hosting our traditional events,” states the event’s online announcement, “we’re focusing our efforts on a Food Drive for the Auburn Food Bank. Current events and the significant challenges it’s causing many in our community, have compelled us to assist, even if in a small way. People now, possibly more than ever, need assistance putting food on their tables.”

“This is a difficult time in so many ways. Not being able to host the Easter Egg Hunt is, of course, sad. But, minor in comparison to what so many are going through,” said food drive co-sponsor Darci Bidman. “The hope is our community will come together (metaphorically) to help those who are struggling and in need. The Auburn Food Bank needs help! Let’s do what we can.”

Service doesn’t start when you have something to give; it blossoms naturally when you have nothing left to take. –Nipun Mehta

Joining Forces for the Auburn Food Bank

“Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Auburn Food Bank has seen a dramatic increase of families served,” explained food drive co-sponsor Sandi Green. “Families that didn’t have a need before are now in need. Many people that live in our community couldn’t over stock their pantries; many are without wages now and can’t afford to feed their loved ones. When it became apparent that we would need to cancel our annual Easter Egg Hunt events, the other sponsors and I decided to focus on something that could critically impact others. We decided to use our collective “inner-net” to create greater bandwidth and awareness together, to assist with the desperate need for food.”

“I believe that in coming together collectively as professionals in our community. That we can make a bigger impact on those that need us,” said fellow food drive co-sponsor Jamie Penrod. “I want to help, make an impact and continue to make connections that last a lifetime.”

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Sandi and Randy Green’s Home, a Hunt for Hunger food drive drop off site | Photo by Kael Coffey, for the Auburn Examiner

Food drive co-sponsor Matt Llewellyn highlights one of the deeper reasons behind the drive. “I believe that making connections with people in need, in these rather difficult times, is the most important thing right now. Making a positive impact is what we as a group are here to do. Help is needed and help is what we will do.”
“By teaming up with Sandi and [the Renaissance Team], we have learned about the amazing ways to help others around us, simply with a little ‘sweat equity’,” shared Sarah Gould, co-owner of Tre Sorelle Salon.

“We believe that God gave us our trade to help others in beauty. Right now, on our temporary break, we need to remind others about the beauty in the world,” continued Gould. “This is such a beautiful way to help while all else fails around us. Support is selfless, support is equality, support is beautiful, support is love,”

How You Can Give Back

Green reminded that “the Auburn Food Banks’ mission is about ‘giving families and individuals living within the Auburn School District hope to face tomorrow.’ People who utilize food banks are not just filling up holes in their cupboards.”

There are several ways to help:
1) Donate money via The Auburn Food Bank Venmo App. Every dollar earned gives the Food Bank more than five times the buying power!

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The Auburn Food Bank’s Venmo

2) Donate Food. Donations may be dropped off in the designated bins at the following locations.
Current needs as of March 30th: Canned meals (Ravioli’s, Spaghetti-O’s), and soups; Boxes meals (Hamburger, Tuna, Chicken Helpers) canned meats (tuna, chicken, ham, spam), and all and any kinds of hygiene — toothpaste, soaps, feminine pads, shavers for men and women, etc. Check for a current list of needs items here: https://www.theauburnfoodbank.org/

• Randy and Sandi Green’s Home: 6307 Stuart Place SE, Auburn, WA 98092 (cash donations also accepted here)
• Lakeland HOA Clubhouse: 5801 Lakeland Hills Way SE, Auburn, WA 98092
• Safari Nails: 1418 Lake Tapps Parkway E, Auburn, WA 98092
• Pet Pros: 1404 Lake Tapps Parkway E, Auburn, WA 98092

3) Buy food on Amazon, Costco online, or another food delivery service & have it shipped directly to The Auburn Food Bank (930 18th Pl NE, Auburn, WA 98002)

4) Fred Meyer shopping Rewards may be donated to The Auburn Food Bank. Utilize Smile.Amazon.com rather than just Amazon.com & designate The Auburn Food Bank as your charity of choice.

5) Haggen Foods (Lakeland Commons) will be donating proceeds to The Auburn Food Bank from the at checkout, voluntary “cash register donations” feature.

6) Volunteer! The Auburn Food Bank is in dire need of volunteers to help prepare sack lunches, unload pallets Monday mornings or Wednesday afternoons. The Auburn Food Bank has implemented social distancing & increased sanitization to ensure volunteer safety.

If you are only able to donate one dollar or give one item, that can make a drastic impact on someone else’s life. “Each gift of money, regardless of the size, creates an unending ripple that compounds with countless others,” said Green. “Each $1.00 donation the food bank receives represents $5.00 of purchasing power. Each [item] donated is important; it’s important to that one child or adult who may have gone without.”

For those who need a little bit of the Easter Egg hunt joy, be sure to drive by the Green’s home. Their yard is once more filled with a festive family of inflatables. “[My husband] Randy and I have such a deep love for children,” shared Green. “Children are incredibly curious, can get excited about almost anything; they have faith, trust, wonder, short memories, and absolute persistence! They are some of the happiest and fulfilled individuals you will ever meet. I think adults can learn a great deal from the attitudes of these miniature human beings.”

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Sandi and Randy Green’s Home, a Hunt for Hunger food drive drop off site | Photo by Kael Coffey, for the Auburn Examiner

“Randy and I know that if we help the parents of these little wonders, if we do everything we can to help those who are unable to help themselves, these little lives will pay it forward,” continued Green. “What happens to kids today can change the world, and for them to lead us one day, we must feed them today. We believe that we can be that neighbor on the other side of the fence who finds a need and fills it. When we serve, we understand that other people’s suffering is also our suffering, that their joy is also our joy.”

Though the Easter Egg Hunts were canceled, Green, Llewellyn, and Penrod are hopeful for their future events. Keep an eye out for details on their Summer Jamboree and Book Drive. If the Jamboree doesn’t happen, there’s always the Tree Lighting and Santa Event, where they also collect toys for local children.

In the immediate future, Darci Bidman is hosting a blood drive on April 11th. The Cascade Regional Blood Services bloodmobile will be at the Lakeland Clubhouse from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. The PNW blood supply is critically low. If you can, please consider coming out to donate.

“As Rachel Naomi Remen puts it, “When you help, you see life as weak. When you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole,” said Green. “When you serve, you discover that often the most important things you have to offer are not things at all. Your time, presence, attention –the ability to give stems from a state of mind and heart, a place much deeper than anything material.”

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Thank you to the Hunt for Hunger food drive sponsors!

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