GEE AND URSULA

Doug Baldwin looks to foster ‘connected community’ with food bank volunteers

Sep 25, 2023, 7:03 AM

food bank volunteers doug baldwin...

People gather at the Northwest Harvest food bank in SODO. (Photo courtesy Northwest Harvest)

(Photo courtesy Northwest Harvest)

With local food banks struggling to find volunteers and gather donations, a Seahawks legend is taking action to recruit people to give back to their communities.

Former Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin told KIRO Newsradio’s Gee and Ursula he’s teamed up with the “Back to Action” campaign and aims to sign up at least 3,000 volunteers by the end of the year.

More on WA food banks: Taylor Swift makes significant donation to food bank during Seattle Eras Tour

Baldwin, along with partners including Northwest Harvest, KING 5, the Seattle Seahawks, Safeway and the Washington Food Coalition, hosted a “Back to Action Day of Service” on Sept. 23, where they officially kicked off their drive to get volunteers.

Baldwin talked about why he thinks it is so important to get people back to helping out food banks and serving the community.

“I got three daughters I’m raising, and I want them to grow up in an environment where the community looks out for them too,” Baldwin said. “When I’m not here anymore, when I’m not there to be right by their side, we need to have a more connected community and the way that we do that we find ways to serve each other. And so my question to you would be, why not?”

Last year, King County passed a measure that would identify resources to help local food banks struggling to meet increased demand.

According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index report, food prices have increased 3.9% since last August, and inflation is up 3.7% from 2021. This is a big reason why people struggling to make ends meet are increasingly utilizing food banks.

“During the pandemic, there was an influx of volunteers, supporting organizations, and just answering the call during that crisis, but since the pandemic, about 80% of volunteers have not returned to the food banks,” Baldwin said. “And, as you can imagine, that has put a great burden on the food banks, as the need for food and the communities that are looking for food has increased. And so there’s been a struggle for the food banks to maintain their ability to meet that need to serve our community.”

Another part of the issue is that Washington State’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits were reduced back to pre-pandemic levels in March.

Some individuals who were receiving $200 a month during the pandemic are now receiving just $17-$28, putting pressure on local food banks to fill the gap. A recent study found SNAP recipients experienced a 21% increase in food insufficiency after the increase ended.

Executive Director of the Auburn Food Bank, Debbie Christian, reported earlier this year that the food bank has experienced a 40% increase in demand since the cutback.

“Wherever you are, whether it’s downtown Seattle, or the south end, or the north end, or somewhere else, Eastern Washington, Southern Washington, or the northern tip of Washington. It doesn’t matter where you go,” Baldwin said. “Really being empathetic and compassionate, and really thinking through a lens of the love of what is it their community needs, and then figuring out a way how to plug into that to solve that problem, or to fill that gap, or to support organizations that are doing that work, and finding a way to contribute.”

More on Doug Baldwin: Former Seahawk Doug Baldwin goes all in on community after retirement

The team at Northwest Harvest, a non-profit in South Seattle, needs more than just people to help package or serve food and says they need people with a variety of skills to help, including translators, IT and software experts, accountants, and painters.

“Even for this campaign, we’re looking for folks who have different skills, not just folks who are just, you know, going to be in line and helping serve food or helping cook food, we’re also talking about people who have background is in taxes,” Baldwin said. “People who, who are engineers, who are carpenters, like we need, we need a varying degree of folks can help and support our food banks.”

You can find more information on the Gee and Ursula Facebook page or the Back to Action sign-up form.

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

Gee and Ursula

grammar...

Ursula Reutin

Ursula: Does grammar still matter? Not according to UW

Jake Harper found that the University of Washington's Informatics department doesn't grade on grammar in students' applications.

1 day ago

chef jordan junebaby...

Ursula Reutin

Ursula: Does everyone deserve a second chance? It’s complicated

Seattle chef Edouardo Jordan, once a national media darling after winning two prestigious James Beard awards, appeared on the Gee and Ursula show Tuesday.

10 days ago

chef jordan junebaby...

L.B. Gilbert

Accused chef Edouardo Jordan ‘wants to be accountable,’ reopens restaurant

On June 13, 2021, a Seattle Times article came out where five women alleged that Jordan had groped them at work.

11 days ago

(Design by )...

MyNorthwest Video

Video: Seattle Chef Edouardo Jordan responds to sexual misconduct allegations on Gee & Ursula

In 2021, two-time James Beard Award winning Chef Edouardo Jordan was accused by over a dozen women of sexual misconduct at work. Edouardo decided to stay in Seattle, and joined Gee and Ursula to discuss this event and the last couple of years for him.

11 days ago

...

MyNorthwest Video

Video: Gee explains why people should be dating nerds

Gee Scott discussed with Ursula today why ladies should be dating nerdy guys instead of bad boys. Listen to Gee and Ursula, weekdays from 9am to 12pm on KIRO Newsradio 97.3fm!

12 days ago

police woman killed comments...

L.B. Gilbert

Gee & Ursula: Police culture to blame for comments on woman killed by SPD car

Controversial body camera footage from an SPD officer responding to the scene of a woman killed in a crosswalk was released Monday. 

17 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Doug Baldwin looks to foster ‘connected community’ with food bank volunteers