Hunger Happens Here
Tuesday, November 7, 2023
Meet Daniella, a diligent and ambitious high school student here in Bellevue who dreams of attending college and pursuing a career in medicine. Daniella’s journey is filled with determination, but it also comes with challenges. Her family, like many in our community, is facing financial hardships, making it difficult to afford essential groceries.
Daniella’s story is similar to many children in our community who are from low-income households.
More than 4,135 students who attend the Bellevue School District schools are experiencing food insecurity.
Daniella and her sister live with their mom in a shared apartment with her aunt and cousin. Poor credit and skyrocketing prices here in Bellevue have put renting their own apartment out of reach for Daniella’s mom, Sarah.
Sarah’s poor credit is a result of medical debt that started building two years ago when she received the life-altering diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. The symptoms of her MS have made it challenging to work full-time in her field as a home health aide, and she’s had to cut back to part-time work. As a result, the family’s budget has been tightened to an excruciating degree. Sarah, Daniella, and Daniella’s little sister have been living with a harsh reality: hunger has become an unwelcome reality in their life.
Eager to ease the financial burden for her mom and stay focused on her education, Daniella visited the Family Engagement Specialist at her school, who informed Daniella about our Breaktime-Mealtime program. She directed Daniella and her family to visit the Bellevue Family Hub for support.
Our Breaktime-Mealtime program provides Safeway grocery store food vouchers to replace school meals when schools are on breaks and for emergency food security needs throughout the year.
Receiving the food vouchers made a world of difference for Daniella. The vouchers allowed her to purchase nutritious food of her choice that kept her fueled for the school day. For once, she didn’t have to worry about going to school hungry or skipping dinner to ensure her little sister could eat. Daniella and her sister’s dinner plates were fuller than they had been in weeks.
With the support of the vouchers, Daniella has not only maintained her excellent academic performance but also had the energy and confidence to participate in leadership roles at her school.
Daniella’s story highlights the challenges many students in our Bellevue community face. The reality is that there are many families, like Daniella’s, in Bellevue who are just one crisis or one surprise bill away from experiencing hunger.
Every school in the Bellevue School District has students who are facing hunger. The map below shows the schools with the highest number of children experiencing food insecurity.
Why Safeway Grocery Store Food Vouchers?
Grocery store food vouchers are a valuable resource for families in need for several reasons:
Personal Choice: Families are able to have a personalized experience where they can shop for food that aligns with their dietary preferences and cultural considerations.
Dignity and Autonomy: Grocery store vouchers empower individuals and families to make their own food choices, preserving their dignity and autonomy.
Reduced Stigma: Some individuals may feel uncomfortable or stigmatized when seeking assistance from a food bank. Grocery vouchers can be a discreet way to obtain help without drawing attention to one’s economic situation.
Variety and Freshness: Grocery vouchers enable families to access a wider variety of fresh, nutritious foods, including fruits, vegetables, and perishable items, which may not always be readily available at food banks.
Accessibility: Safeway grocery stores are often more geographically accessible to a broader range of families, whereas food banks may require transportation to a specific location, making vouchers a more convenient option for many of the families we support.
As a community, we all have a role to play in fighting hunger here in Bellevue and ensuring all our children have equal opportunities to succeed in school. No child can thrive on an empty stomach. Your support not only helps provide essential nutrition but also restores hope for local students in need.