Home Team Harvest: Grocery Cards Are Changing Lives of Washington Families Battling Food Insecurity

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A donation of $5 to $12 at a Safeway or Albertsons grocery store will help fund shopping cards for families in need across Washington State.

SEATTLE, Wash. – The next time you go to an Albertsons or Safeway store to buy food for your family, partners in the Home team harvest initiative want you to think of others who may be struggling to pay for groceries.

KING 5 teams up again with Northwest Harvest, Safeway, Albertsons and others to make the two-month campaign possible.

Until December 31, people can donate in person at an Albertsons or Safeway store or donate online. Donations will be collected until December 31 and purchase cards in $50 increments will be distributed in January and February.

Home Team Harvest leaders said the cards were needed early in the year because many donations and food drives provide relief during the holidays.

Those interested can text “HOMETEAM” to 41444 to receive a link and donate.

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Shopping gift cards can do a lot for any family, says Joy Hollingsworth, Western Washington response to hunger Northwest Harvest specialist.

“The Safeway gift card initiative allows shoppers to not only purchase food, but also baby supplies, formula, gasoline, cleaning supplies,” Hollingsworth explained. “All these different ways to be able to center dignity and it also creates less food waste.”

Last year, Home Team Harvest helped provide more than 20 million meals to families in Washington State. It is estimated that one in 11 households in Washington faces food insecurity.

This year’s goal is 21 million meals.

Safeway and Albertsons employees said the initiative was a top priority.

Providing a place where people can shop is what they do every day, but Sara Osborne, director of external affairs for Safeway and Albertsons, said it needed to be accessible to everyone.

Several organizations are joining this effort to provide more shopping cards to families.

Osborne said other programs providing services to families in need are now able to identify food insecurity and also distribute shopping cards.

Some of the partner organizations include:

  • Washington Serves – Veterans Programs
  • Afghan Health Initiative – Assisting Incoming Refugees
  • Dignity for Divas – Support Services for Women Emerging from Homelessness
  • School districts must send cards home to families to use during school holidays or weekends
  • Puget Sound Kidney Center – Helping Food Insecure Patients
  • Center for the elderly in the central area

“There are a lot of families that are not eligible for federal food assistance but are still living at the poverty line, and they are still very food insecure,” Osborne said. “So the cards also allow them to shop like their neighbors and choose their food for their families.”

Tune into KING 5 at 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 4 for a one-hour special highlighting the annual campaign and how it is changing lives in our communities, with live cuts from select locations across the region of Puget Sound.

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