As we reflect on 2020, we are deeply conscious of the ways that the world around us changed rapidly. In many ways, it brought dark times to the communities we serve, marked by hardship and distance that we never could have imagined. These circumstances have made us that much more appreciative of the generosity of neighbors, friends, partners, and donors who make up FamilyWorks’ rich and vibrant community.
In the next year, we know that the needs will continue. We have new families and neighbors every day who are seeking community resources for the first time in their lives. Participants who were already on the margins of our society are facing even more difficult situations. 2020 showed us that when we asked our community to step in and stand with us in a deeper way, you were there. Volunteers risked exposure to the virus to work in our food banks and resource center, every single week. New friends far and wide made donations to FamilyWorks for the first time, who said, “I believe in what you are doing, and I want to support your work.” Familiar friends made bigger commitments, with generous contributions of time and resources, to make sure that we could respond to sharp increases in community need.
FamilyWorks takes a lot of pride in being there for our community, through our programs, services, and advocacy for change. Our values, guided always by our relationships with our program participants, saw us through a year where we needed to serve differently, which you will see throughout the pages of this report. We continued our commitment to serve with racial equity and racial justice, adapting our programs and listening to our participants so we can reflect their voices in our advocacy.
We are grateful for many things. We are grateful that none of our staff got sick from the virus and that we never had to close the food banks for a single day. We are grateful for the resilience of our participants, and the ways they collaborated with us and gave us input as we changed operations. We are especially grateful that the FamilyWorks staff and board embraced creativity, innovation, and growth of our services. And we are grateful to all of you, for encouraging us, supporting our mission, and bringing brightness to our days.
IN 2020 OUR TEAM MADE A NUMBER OF CRUCIAL PROGRAM ADAPTATIONS TO ENSURE OUR COMMUNITY WOULD HAVE ACCESS TO VITAL RESOURCES WHEN THEY NEEDED THEM MOST.
Gov. Inslee issues COVID-related lockdown for Washington State.
Food Bank and Resource Center transition to outdoor distribution model.
Resource Center begins offering family programs online (e.g. virtual playgroups).
As the initial two-week lockdown order is extended, the number of participants accessing the Food Bank increases dramatically.
As many have to pause their volunteering, some of our volunteers take on extra shifts to compensate.
Resource Center increases virtual programs to include cooking series with Solid Ground.
Food bank increases home delivery from 100 to 187 households to include all participants aged 70+ and adds immunocompromised families.
To date, the Food Bank has seen an increase of 600 new households as compared to the same time in 2019.
Resource Center adds outdoor programming option with Spanish Playgroup at Wallingford Playfield.
Unable to host participants indoors, the Resource Center hosts a free “pop-up” outdoor clothing market.
After the success of the outdoor pop-up event, the Resource Center opens the Community Closet, a free store in which participants can access clothing, diapers, toys, books, and other essential items.
Resource Center launches 5-week virtual parenting class with Sproutable.
Through a new partnership with SPS, our Community Connector team begins providing resource referral services including rental assistance, health care, and more, at Nathan Hale High School.
FamilyWorks hosts the first virtual Sunday Supper event complete with live cooking demonstration from Tom Douglas.
Food Bank transitions to indoor station model to allow for more individual choice.
Food Bank rolls out a new text-to-go system that enables participants to pick up food at convenient times, removing barriers to food access due to work, caregiving commitments, or medical appointments during regular Food Bank hours.
FWx purchases a food truck that will later be converted into a Mobile Food Pantry. The truck will increase FWx capacity for grocery delivery, as well as food and resource distribution at remote locations.
Message from Food Bank Manager Tobey Solomon-Auger
2020 was a year of immense change at the food bank. We pivoted and pivoted again. And in the process, we learned a lot from our participants – leading us to reimagine the way we think about food bank services.
Our purpose at the food bank as an outlet, not just of food, but also of social connection and resource navigation became abundantly clear during the past year. We were able to preserve in-person shopping hours in addition to expanding delivery, giving participants the option to select their own groceries and touch base with our staff and volunteers each week. A participant stopped me recently and declared, “I love coming here. And it’s because of the people.” I told him how much that meant to me, and it really speaks to the incredible work our staff is doing each week.
I’m also proud of the many changes we made this year to make the food bank a more accessible service. From launching a new program that offers grocery pick-ups outside of food bank hours, to removing signage that prescribed quantities each household could take, to expanding our grocery selection, we are working to ensure that everyone can access our food bank and walk away with the foods most important to them.
It has not been an easy year, and I feel grateful that we were able to use this opportunity to listen and reshape our services. These lessons are ones we will surely carry into 2021, as we continue to advance our work on equity, accessibility, and responsiveness.
Households served in 2020
Bags of food distributed to school-aged kids by collaborating with Backpack Brigade and Food for Schools
Grocery deliveries to homebound seniors and families, compared with 2,571 in 2019
“No cook” Emergency Food bags and COVID care kits handed out to our unhoused neighbors
Launched Text to Go – a program offering customized grocery boxes for curbside pick-up ordered via text message
To increase our selection of fresh produce, added four local farm partners with funding through King County’s Farm Share Program
Message from Family Resource Center Manager Edsel Blanche
As we look back at 2020, we faced one of the biggest challenges for the Family Resource Center: the closure of drop-in services due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, during that time, we found innovative ways to still provide services and programming. We transitioned empowerment programs and playgroups to virtual settings. We created new and now established programs like our Community Closet. We conducted more outreach than before to connect with new participants in need of resources, such as launching a satellite family resource center at Nathan Hale High School.
These are just some of the many ways we adapted by “opening differently.” We saw an increase in participants needing one- on-one support to navigate community resources and public benefits. Our ability to provide support and services has been touching and impactful for many of our participants in the community. What made these programs and efforts so successful is the spirit, passion, and heart of the Family Resource Center staff, interns, and volunteers. Our generous donors made a positive impact on the participants we serve by fulfilling Winter Wishes, filling our Community Closet with new coats, and coordinating diaper drives, among so many acts of kindness.
We are continually inspired by the resilience of our participants who come to FamilyWorks because of the sense of community they feel and our open door to essential resources.
Shannon is a participant who met our Community Connector, Anisa, at Nathan Hale High School. Shannon is a mom of one boy and girl, who was laid off from her job as an assistant teacher for a Head Start program. Due to the pandemic, she was not working and lost her mother during this time. In addition, she was also behind on rent and faced a lot of loneliness and isolation. Thankfully, Shannon saw a flier for our new school-based resource center at Nathan Hale High School. Anisa provided a referral to St. Vincent de Paul for rental assistance and registered her for additional programs such as the Community Closet and food bank. She was approved the next day for rental assistance from Anisa’s referral which made such a huge difference for her. Shannon continues to visit us at the Community Closet and food bank to receive support that helps her build her family’s resiliency.
Total households served
Winter Wish program
Back to School program
Referrals made to other services and programs
Message from Volunteer Coordinator Kathryn Johnson
No matter what is happening outside of FamilyWorks, our volunteers continue to be fundamental in the provision of services to our participants. Nothing made that more apparent than the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. When the stay-at-home order was put in effect in March 2020, many of our regular volunteers, both individuals and groups, had to pause their volunteering. In light of these challenges, some of our volunteers took on extra weekly shifts and we experienced an unprecedented outpouring of support from our community! All of our current on-site Resource Center volunteers and 55% of our Food Bank volunteers have been recruited since March 2020! We are so grateful for these new volunteers who stepped up during a tough time to make sure our participants had the support they needed.
We saw a major expansion to our Home Grocery Delivery program, made possible by the 8 new volunteer drivers who joined us last year. Our volunteers were also integral in the success of new family programs, helping to realize the vision of our staff, first with the successful Pop-Up Clothing Market and then with the establishment of the Community Closet in our building. Our volunteers were amazing and ran with everything we and COVID-19 threw at them!
We would like to thank the following groups who were able to volunteer in 2020: Adobe, evo, Hoover family, Lincoln School’s Keystone Club, March family, Meridian School, Mujeres en Accion, Salmon Bay Community Lending, Shelly Sundberg’s group, University House, Wallingford Presbyterian Church’s Youth group
Number of volunteers
Total volunteer hours
Board volunteer hours
Resource Center volunteer hours
(Resource Center, Reading Buddies, Social Work Practicum, Interns, development)
Food Bank volunteer hours
(Food Bank, food rescue, home deliveries, food drives, AmeriCorps)
When the staff were asked who they thought should be awarded the Kerwin Manuel Impact Award for 2020, the answer was unanimous: long term volunteer and board member Alison Parsons. Alison has been right here with us, helping us to plan how to do things differently and helping us find the way forward. Alison has been involved in so many facets of FamilyWorks: she’s on our board, she helps at the Food Bank, and has had important roles in the school supply program and the Community Closet. Alison always uplifts our staff and participants.
“I love volunteering at the food bank. It is my happy place. I look forward to my volunteer days every week. It grounds me in this chaotic time. I’ve just been so proud to serve on the board and as a volunteer in a place that is totally focused on helping people.”
FamilyWorks is committed to dismantling institutionalized racism and inequities within our organization. In 2020, our Race + Equity Initiative efforts focused on making our space and our programs more accessible, welcoming, and inclusive for all of our participants. The following is a list of some of the strategies we implemented in 2020.
• Worked with the City of Seattle and East African elders and community leaders to make city food banks culturally responsive. Started by purchasing more culturally relevant foods, such as halal meats, regional spices and condiments with more actions planned for 2021.
• Helped to design the new Safe and Thriving Communities Division in Seattle, which reallocates city funds from policing to other community-building efforts.
• Increased accessibility at our food banks for Spanish speaking and Latinx participants by adding Spanish language signage and purchasing culturally relevant foods such as masa flour.
• To support the cultural competence of our volunteers, we’ve updated our volunteer trainings to include fundamental principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion .
• Food bank staff participated in workshops focusing on Power Dynamics and the Roots of Food Insecurity.
• Members of the FamilyWorks team joined the Black Lives Matter silent march in June to show solidarity with activist groups and support the BLM Movement.
• Added flags to our Food Bank to display our solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities.
Dear Beloved FamilyWorks Community,
After over two decades of involvement with FamilyWorks, I retired as Executive Director in June 2020.
It has been a wonderful 22 years in my role of Executive Director at FamilyWorks. I have cherished my time working alongside this amazing and caring group of people to strengthen and nourish our community – it really has been a great honor. Although it seems that there is never a “good time” to leave something that you love so deeply, this is the time that makes sense for me and my family, and it is a time when our organization is strong and healthy.
I remember so clearly on Day 1 as the first hired staff member (serving in roles of ED/volunteer and program coordinator/childcare helper/janitor, etc.) wondering, “Do I really have the stuff to make this work?” You have all supported me and this mission every step of the way, and I am so proud of all that we have accomplished thus far! I feel so fortunate to have had this life gift of meaningful work, and the chance to co-create, with staff, volunteers, the community, and our participants, a welcoming place that truly builds on peoples’ strengths and resiliency, where folks can find the food, resources, and support they need.
It means the world to me. There is nothing like the FamilyWorks community, and my life has been enriched by knowing all of you. I will always be part of the FamilyWorks Family!
With enduring thanks,
Along with our volunteers, FamilyWorks staff put their heart and soul into this work, creating an environment where our entire community can feel respected, where we have opportunities for growth, and where we can all make a positive impact.
Director of Development & Communications
Family Resource Center Manager
Food Bank Coordinator
Elsie Martinez, BSW
Family Programs Coordinator
Teen Parent & Family Programs Coordinator
Food Bank Coordinator
Food Bank Coordinator
Community Connector & Family Programs Coordinator
Food Bank Coordinator & Driver
Tobey Solomon- Auger
Food Bank Manager
Special Events Coordinator
Marcia Wright- Soika
Income for 2020
In-kind – $897,247
Contributions – $1,436,239
Special Events – $96,814
Grants – $169,071
City/State Contracts – $484,062
Interest/Other – $7,767
Expenses for 2020
Program – $1,799,586
Management & Fundraising – $392,417
Income vs. Expenses
Income – $3,099,026
Expenses – $2,192,003
To Our Donors – The team at FamilyWorks is proud that in spite of everything 2020 threw at us, we were not only able to operate continuously in 2020 but also adapted and grew our services to meet the changing needs of our community. The truth is none of this would have been possible without the generosity and partnership of each and every one of you who have compassionately shared your resources with us. Together, we ensured access to nourishing food, vital resources, and a caring community for our participants.
We thank you for believing in our programs and thank you for being such a critical part of this work.