Employees provide 3.2 million pounds of food to families in need

Puget Sound’s Food & Essentials drive raises more than $400,000 for local food banks

April 09, 2020 in Community

Each year in the spring, employees in Puget Sound organize and participate in the Food & Essentials drive to help support local food banks. This year, the drive was more important than ever.

“Our city has been at the epicenter of one of the scariest and most unexpected times our country has faced in recent years,” said Laura Noble, who stepped up to be Renton’s site lead for Food & Essentials this year.

Washington is home to nearly half of Boeing’s employees, and the state was among the first in the country to be hit hard by COVID-19. This year’s drive raised more than $400,000—double what was raised last year. That equates to more than 3 million pounds of food. The total includes employee donations and the Boeing gift match.

“I could not have been more proud of our employees for their giving and generosity,” said Carlton Turner, drive co-leader for the Auburn/Algona campus. “Your neighbors and mine are hardworking people every day who need and rely on these agencies to help feed their families.”

Donations will go to three Puget Sound area food distribution nonprofits—Northwest Harvest, Emergency Food Network and Food Lifeline.

“Thanks to Boeing’s support through this year’s Food & Essentials drive, we’ll be able to source more shelf stable food and hardy produce for emergency kits being distributed to those impacted by the pandemic,” said Nate Pedigo, incident command system lead at Food Lifeline.

Stay-at-home orders and production shutdowns complicated drive efforts this year. Typically, the drives are promoted through in-person meetings and posters and banners around the sites, so there was concern that the response this year might be reduced.

“These fears were completely washed away,” said Noble. “We saw the Boeing employee network stand together to give toward a greater mission during this time. I am proud to be part of the Boeing family in this moment.”

“The COVID-19 health and economic crisis has disproportionately impacted individuals and communities that already struggle with hunger and poverty,” said Jeff Peterson of Northwest Harvest. “Boeing employees’ support expands Northwest Harvest’s ability to provide equitable access to nutritious food to communities most affected by this crisis.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!”