Strapped Seattle food bank: 'We need the community'

SEATTLE - A local food bank that helps nearly 90,000 needy people every year is now in need of help itself.

North Helpline is known for changing lives - by offering so much more than a meal.

"We do food first - yet we do so much more," says Executive Director John Klevins.

The North Seattle food bank is a lifeline for the 1,700 people who come there every week to pick up a generous food basket. But North Helpline also provides clothing and blankets - and it runs a modern free medical clinic.

"This place is about compassion," says Klevins. "This place is about selfless activity, and when you walk in you feel it."

That's what Malika Dundon experienced when she turned to this place after her unemployment and savings ran out.

"I found hope and love and caring," she says. "It's fantastic."

Many are so grateful that they come back to volunteer.

"If this place did not exist, we would have more people on public assistance. We would have more people in the street," says Klevins.

The troubled economy has seen corporate and other private donations dwindle, forcing Klevins to shut down the emergency services program that for 23 years helped clients with rent, utilities and bus passes.

"We need the community to react to the giving ... and give to the givers," says Klevins.

So now North Helpline is reaching out - asking - so it can continue to do its good work.

"To come to a food bank where people are working hard - working so hard from their hearts from the bottom of their souls to cater to the community - I couldn't ask for anything else," says Klevins.


Visit the North Helpline website to help out with a donation >>