Edmonds Schools Foundation works to ensure students are fed during COVID-19 crisis

The Nourishing Network’s pop-up pantry teams include Alderwood Middle School (left), Beverly Elementary (center), and Cedar Valley Elementary (right). “We are so grateful for our pop-up pantry teams,” said Edmonds Schools Foundation Executive Director Deborah Brandi. (Photos courtesy Foundation for Edmonds School District)

In the face of COVID-19, the Foundation for Edmonds School District says the efforts to feed school district children through its Nourishing Network have not stopped or slowed down —they have increased. “Program changes and expansions have not been easy, but our staff and volunteers have been incredibly creative and adaptive,” Foundation Executive Director Deborah Brandi said in a recent letter to foundation supporters.

While upholding social distancing best practices, Brandi said, the foundation is working alongside the school district to implement the following:
Pop-Up Pantries: These are still open and operating. “In response to COVID-19, we are using a drive-thru model, where our wonderful volunteers load pantry boxes into waiting cars for families in need,” Brandi said.
Grab-and-Go Meals:  The foundation is offering meals five days per week at four community sites: Community Life Center, Meadowdale Community Church, Spruce Park, and YWCA. Families can also receive dinners
(a second meal) at three sites on Fridays, compliments of FeedMe Hospitality and Restaurant Group, Chick-Fil-A, and Bantaba restaurants.


Shubert Ho and staff at Salt & Iron: Oysters and Steak in Edmonds prepared 185 meals to donate to families at Grab-and-Go distribution sites.
The Edmonds Food Bank (pictured above) prepared pantry bags, complete with chocolate Easter bunnies, for Nourishing Network to deliver to families in need.
Weekend Meals Kits: Carry-away weekend meal kits are being distributed at alongside the grab-and-go meals. Each kit contains enough food for two breakfasts, two lunches, and two dinners. They also include two milks, two juices, a variety of snacks, and a comprehensive list of community resources, such as food bank locations.
Delivery Services: In an effort to better support immune-compromised and homebound families, we have increased our delivery services for weekend meal kits and pantry boxes.
Sally Ralston, King’s Schools, and SPIRIT 105.3. hosted a huge drive-up food drive benefitting Nourishing Network March 3.

Also helping with the foundation’s effort was King’s School in nearby Shoreline, which partnered with radio station SPIRIT 105.3 to conduct a food drive March 3.”We went to remote learning in the middle of March,” explained King’s Marketing & Admissions Director Sally Ralston. “And as families were at home with their students and feeling isolated from each other I received many emails from parents that wanted to do something to help those in need!” Ralston said she had worked in the past with the Nourishing Network, “and I really like the support they give to children on free/reduced lunch by providing a weekend backpack for them. So I thought this would be a perfect fit.”

Ralston said she was amazed by the steady stream of parents and high school students who came from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  in the King’s school parking lot, dropping off food and cash donations. “In the end we had not one but two vans full of food,” she said. “The King’s community cares for others in need.”

“This is truly a community effort,” Brandi said of all the good works to help district children in need. “We are grateful to be working alongside our dedicated volunteers, food banks, restaurants, and district. A special thank you to Edmonds Food Bank, Lynnwood Food Bank, and Neighborhood Food Bank for your partnership in supporting our pop-up pantries and home delivery services —we could not do this without you!”

“On behalf of the hundreds of children and families served by The Foundation for Edmonds School District, thank you for your continued support in ensuring that every student in our district has the resources to learn, thrive, and contribute to our vibrant community,” Brandi added.


7 Replies to “Edmonds Schools Foundation works to ensure students are fed during COVID-19 crisis”

  1. It would be interesting to see how many parents roll up in newer cars, brand new iPhones in there pockets with air pods in there ears to get free lunches for there kids. I have a hard time believing parents can’t afford to feed there kids lunch living in this area, maybe it’s time to make hard decisions on weather you really need cable with premium channels, it’s all about choices


    1. So if a family who two months ago had stable income and could afford their choices of what type of car they drive…but suddenly found themselves, through no fault of their own, laid off or forced to shutter their small business doors, you expect they rush out (during a stay at home order) to trade in their vehicles for something I guess you’d consider more “appropriate” for poor people to drive just to satisfy your judgement of who should be granted food or not during this crisis? Umm…okay, Brad. Glad things are great up there on your high horse of plenty.


    2. Hi Brad,

      For statistics on how many students qualify (not a choice), you can view the report for March 2020 here (FR% in the last column): https://www.edmonds.wednet.edu/UserFiles/Servers/Server_306670/File/About%20Us/A%20look%20at%20our%20District/Enrollment/2019-20/March_2020_P223.pdf

      Many Edmonds schools from elementary all the way up through high school have some of the highest numbers in the school district. Yes, some schools have lower rates (13% at Edmonds Elementary), but others are some of the highest (55-68% at Chase Lake and College Place). Students and their families rely on these important services and it can allow families to ensure they are able to fund other basic life expenses: rent, utilities, etc.

      It’s vitally important to have these resources available and encourage families to use them if needed.

      Thanks ESD Foundation and partners!


  2. Are you kidding me? This is not a car brand, air buds issue. This is an equity issue. The district has encouraged ALL students to use this service when they can so that students in need do not feel stigma when getting food. Which is an issue. And no, sir, not all families in this area can easily access food during this time. Jobs are ending, places are closed. Families are out of work and struggling hard. I’m so glad you aren’t.
    I help distribute lunches at the school and you have no right to judge.


  3. Maybe when one wants to judge other people for “their choices” (their, not there), one should put oneself in their shoes, for example, having the internet is critical to their children’s online learning. It’s none of our business what someone has, drives, or wears.
    Schools are more than learning institutions. It’s a place for children to maybe be fed, be safe, socialize and have structure. Thank goodness schools provide such essential services. Thank you ESD for being consistent in tumultuous time.
    One cannot judge another without being in their shoes whether (not weather) or not what the opinions are.
    It’s akin to judging others’ intelligence based on their grammar usage.


  4. The comments folks made about changing economic status are spot on. Reducing the stigma is also HUGE! Another reason I hope all of my students are accessing the meals is for a sense of connection. Kids spend a big chunk of their days at school. They form bonds with teachers, staff and students. For too many kids, school is their safe place. Having that ripped away without notice is devastating. Picking up lunch at school Is a daily reminder that we still care; we are still there for them. It allows them to have a little piece of their former routine still in place. There are just so many reasons that having this available to ALL students is essential. I hope none of my students read your comment, but if they did I want them to know: every bite of that food is made with the love of our community. Our doors may be closed but we are still here, and you are still important to us.


  5. I just laid off my entire staff. Last year was one of the best years for our business. My husband and I took our first pay raise since 9/11. That’s completely out the window now. My kids are grown (and one of the layoffs was my son) so I am not in the position of worrying about feeding them. I was a government cheese kid back in the 70’s. I have worked my rear end off to get to where I am. I personally would like the “bootstrap” people to stop expecting the middle class to bail out the corps. This is not the first time this has happened to our business and I don’t know if we’re going survive this. I feel so much for the people on the front lines while we can be safe at home. And thank you ESD and the volunteers that are feeding the children. And thank you My Edmonds News for providing accurate information to us.


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