UW News

October 14, 2010

University District Food Bank, a CFD choice: ‘It feels good to help others’

UW News

Editor’s note: Through the 2010 Combined Fund Drive campaign, University Week will spotlight agencies that receive CFD funds and members of the UW community who volunteer for such organizations. The theme of this year’s drive is “Imagine the Difference We Can Make.”

The University District Food Bank was abuzz with activity the afternoon of Thursday, Sept. 30, with volunteers from UW Human Resources and more helping to sort, stock and distribute food.

The agency is one of the more than 2,800 nonprofit organizations that benefits from contributions to the Combined Fund Drive, Washington’s workplace giving program. This year’s campaign began Oct. 13 and will run through Dec. 3.

On hand from the UW were Randi Shapiro, director of the UW’s Work/Life office; Lora DeMars of Professional and Organizational Development; Theresa Shetty of HR Operations; Tracy Knotts of the Benefits Office; and Alison Swenson, assistant to Mindy Kornberg, vice president for human resources and the CFD’s executive sponsor at the UW.

Working the food bank’s checkout desk was Ellen Morley, a system analyst and programmer with the UW’s Environmental Health and Safety office, who has volunteered there for 10 years now. Morley said she has personal reasons for donating her time and talents: “When I was 4 years old I had polio. When I recovered and the March of Dimes started, I marched with my mother every year,” she said. “So it’s a family thing to volunteer.”

Knotts said she was helped by a food bank when she and her husband were out of work. It was a painful time, she said, but was made easier by the help she received. “So it feels good to help others.”

In 2009, the food bank distributed more than 2.1 million pounds of food to about 53,000 customers. Its hard-working director, Joe Gruber, said toiletries are among the food bank’s biggest current needs. (There’s a “wish list” of needs on the bank’s website, located here.)

Gruber said the food bank is also looking for volunteers for a new home delivery program that will bring groceries to those unable to come in and pick them up for themselves. AmeriCorps volunteer Evan Miller is already at work organizing that new service, and said drivers are needed.

Also, the food bank’s annual Take a Bite Out of Hunger Benefit Auction will be held at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, at St. Demetrios Hall, 2100 Boyer Ave. East, in Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood.

Last year, the UW community gave a whopping $2 million to the Combined Fund Drive, comprising 38 percent of the entire state’s giving. This year, they’re looking to do as well or better.

Learn more — and sign up to donate — online at the CFD Website.