Compass program manager organizes impromptu food drive for school children – and receives an overwhelming community response in a matter of days.
Program Manager Shree Vigil has been serving at Compass for eight years, first in emergency shelter direct services, and now with the community of Shoreline Veterans’ Center. Her job is not an easy one, but throughout her tenure at Compass, Shree has led from a place of compassion, she has such a big heart for those in need. Read her inspiring story below as she shares about how members of our community recently matched her compassion in action, in spades.
Shree: After I heard that the schools were going to close down due to the COVID-19, my first thought was about how the area’s vulnerable children were not going to be able to receive daily breakfasts and lunches that the schools provide. When my children were younger, and I was a full-time student there were times that I relied on school breakfasts and lunches for my children’s meals. Food stamps were not enough to provide all meals and snacks, so I would plan dinners for them and weekend meals, but breakfast and lunch at school were important for our family.
I decided right then that I wanted to organize a food drive to supply breakfast and lunch to families in need, and it needed to happen soon, in a matter of days. I had never planned a food drive, but figured if I didn’t, who would? I contacted one of my team members at Shoreline Veteran’s Center who works as a resource advocate at Sand Point Elementary School, supporting those in low-income housing in Magnuson Park. I shared with her what I wanted to do, and she said she had at least 60 families she knew would be affected by not having school meals. So, feeding 60 families became my goal.
I put a message out on the app Nextdoor explaining that I wanted to host a food drive that weekend for breakfast, lunches, and snacks for children who would not receive meals at schools. I was amazed that within a few hours I had many responses from people who wanted to help. People wanted to volunteer the day of the food-drive, they wanted to give meals, circulate flyers for the event, one even offered to build us a website! Magnuson Park agreed to let us use their site to hold the event and a group of womxn on a rugby team that said they would come and volunteer along with another group from Arena Sports. One person called me and stated that a flyer had just shown up on her kitchen table. She didn’t know how it got there, but she wanted in too.
On the day of the food drive, I went out and set up tables in front of the Magnuson Park community center and kept my fingers crossed that people would come. To my humble amazement, people started to come. There were volunteers I even had to turn away because there were so many. Instead of feeding 60 families, we ended up serving over 270 bags of five breakfast, five lunches, and snacks to children in the community. Each child who came received one bag which had enough food for five breakfast and lunches.
I was touched by how our community showed up and helped out more than I could have imagined, and all of this happened over a span of only four days! In a time of uncertainty and change, we can still turn to our neighbors to support those who are most vulnerable and bring a bit of comfort, love, and hope through a bag of food.