Just one week prior to Oct. 21, the Woodinville Rotary blasted social media with a plea for the community to stop by a pop-up food drive at the Sammamish Valley Grange to support local families negatively impacted by COVID-19.
“It’s surprising how fast the news gets to everyone else,” said Sandy Kallio, director of membership for the club.
Kallio said this was the second pop-up food drive for the same small community of families located not far from the Grange. The first drive in September recorded between 25 and 30 cars with donations filling five to six carloads by the end of the two-hour event, she added.
“This is Rotary-organized, but we’re involving Rotaract and Interact, which are high school and college-aged kids,” Rotary President Allison McGill said. “So, we have youth engagement as well.”
During the food drive Oct. 21, nearly 20 volunteers showed up to unload donations from cars in a socially distant manner. Kallio said donated items ranged from homemade quilts to a bag of shoes.
Similar to the first drive, Kallio said, volunteers collected “hundreds of pounds” of non-perishables and supplies, which filled six carloads. At the end of the food drive, volunteers personally delivered the goods to a woman who lives in the community and distributes them among families.
“This time, people were coming to drop off supplies before the drive-thru was even open,” she said.
Mayor Elaine Cook originally discovered this local community lacked the philanthropic resources necessary to receive help during the pandemic, Kallio noted. After the first successful pop-up, the woman who distributes the goods reached out to see if Rotary would consider another drive.
Kallio said she included a specific list of needs, including food, diapers, toiletries and cleaning supplies. The list was circulated with the particular needs within a week of the pop-up.
McGill said the community represents primarily Hispanic and Black families without much access to resources. These are people who have lost jobs due to the pandemic, need to support large families and are really struggling to get by, she added.
McGill said the woman has been so overwhelmed with the response that she is now trying to organize her own nonprofit food pantry to help her community. A fellow Rotary member is also helping her write a business plan, she noted.