Madison Miller / staff photo                                 Local mom, Meghan, shares her story of how Bellevue LifeSpring kept her family from becoming homeless and hungry.

Madison Miller / staff photo Local mom, Meghan, shares her story of how Bellevue LifeSpring kept her family from becoming homeless and hungry.

Bellevue ‘steps up to the plate’ to support local families

Bellevue LifeSpring hosts annual fundraising luncheon.

Bellevue LifeSpring recently held its annual fundraising luncheon, Step Up to the Plate, on March 19 at the Meydenbauer Center.

More than 800 people attended to hear the stories of how Bellevue LifeSpring has changed the lives of local families.

Bellevue LifeSpring’s mission is to foster stability and self-sufficiency for Bellevue’s children and their families through programs that provide food, clothing, education and emergency assistance.

Bellevue LifeSpring began in 1911 with three local women helping their neighbors. Today, Bellevue LifeSpring serves more than 15,000 children and families and is run by 95 percent volunteers.

Bellevue LifeSpring’s “wraparound approach” consists of four main programs.

Breaktime-Mealtime ends hunger by distributing Safeway food during school breaks to children enrolled in the federal free and reduced-price lunch program. According to Bellevue School District (BSD) Superintendent Dr. Ivan Duran, more than 18 percent of BSD students qualify for free and reduced meals. In 2018, more than 1,800 students were fed.

Clothes-4-Kids provides children with vouchers for new back-to-school clothes so they can begin their school year confident and ready to learn. More than 500 students were served in 2018. Working with Clothes-4-Kids, Thrift Culture supplies quality new and used clothing, shoes and household goods at affordable prices. Vouchers are given to families who cannot afford to pay. More than 100 families were served in 2018.

In terms of education, Bellevue LifeSpring offers Grads-On-Track, which gives summer school scholarships to high school students, helping them stay on track and graduate with their peers.

In total, 310 classes were funded last year. In addition, educational grants awards four-year scholarships for higher education so students can achieve stability and independence wherever their futures take them. Twenty-six (26) scholarships were awarded to students in 2018.

Duran said with BSD’s new vision statement, he believes Bellevue LifeSpring supports it and helps secure the future for Bellevue students.

Bellevue LifeSpring’s fourth program is emergency assistance. The program works to keep students stable and in their homes by providing food and basic needs, eviction prevention and move-in assistance for families in crisis. The program prevented 49 evictions helped five families move into new homes. However, Duran said there are currently 293 students faced with unstable living conditions.

Meghan (whose last name is withheld) is a local mom of four children. She shared how Bellevue LifeSpring has saved her family from homelessness and hunger.

“We faced the possibility of homelesness for two years. We couldn’t afford to move because there was too much cost… Bellevue LifeSpring paid for our first month’s rent and secured a place for us to live,” she said. “Thank you all for saving us from homelessness.”

While Bellevue LifeSpring has changed the lives of numerous children and families, it isn’t reaching everybody who is eligible.

“We are able to only reach about half of the people who need our services,” said Jennifer Fischer, the executive director for Bellevue LifeSpring.

At the end of the event, Bellevue LifeSpring received $407,600 in donations.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

BSD superintendent, Dr. Ivan Duran, shared how Bellevue LifeSpring supports children and families in need in Bellevue. Madison Miller/staff photo

BSD superintendent, Dr. Ivan Duran, shared how Bellevue LifeSpring supports children and families in need in Bellevue. Madison Miller/staff photo

Outgoing President and Chair of Bellevue LifeSpring, Joseph Brazen, explained the vision and legacy of Bellevue LifeSpring at its annual luncheon. Madison Miller/staff photo

Outgoing President and Chair of Bellevue LifeSpring, Joseph Brazen, explained the vision and legacy of Bellevue LifeSpring at its annual luncheon. Madison Miller/staff photo

Bellevue LifeSpring supporters shop at Thrift Culture at the Bellevue LifeSpring Step Up to the Plate luncheon. Madison Miller/staff photo

Bellevue LifeSpring supporters shop at Thrift Culture at the Bellevue LifeSpring Step Up to the Plate luncheon. Madison Miller/staff photo

Joe Jornadal shops at Thrift Culture at the Step Up to the Plate luncheon. Thrift Culture proceeds go to Bellevue LifeSpring programs. Madison Miller/staff photo

Joe Jornadal shops at Thrift Culture at the Step Up to the Plate luncheon. Thrift Culture proceeds go to Bellevue LifeSpring programs. Madison Miller/staff photo

Michelle Roskilly shops at Thrift Culture at the annual Bellevue LifeSpring benefit luncheon. Madison Miller/staff photo

Michelle Roskilly shops at Thrift Culture at the annual Bellevue LifeSpring benefit luncheon. Madison Miller/staff photo

More in News

An AR-15. Courtesy photo
Mags, open carry at protests and AR-15s on Olympia’s agenda

Lawmakers are eyeing a number of bills which could change firearm regulations in the state.

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Lawmakers consider prohibiting use of credit score to determine insurance rates

Advocates say credit scoring makes low-income and minority policy holders pay more for coverage.

West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant. Photo courtesy of Washington Department of Ecology.
EPA loans King County $96.8 million to prevent untreated water from spilling into Puget Sound

Loan comes a week after an over 10 million gallon overflow into the Puget Sound and Lake Washington.

Courtesy photo
Survey shows rent debt to be disproportionately distributed among minorities

More than half of Black renters surveyed said they owed rent money from previous months.

National Guard troops, pictured Jan. 11 at the state Capitol in Olympia, have been on standby in case of violent protests. (Photo by Roger Harnack, Cheney Free Press)
At the state Capitol, a quiet day amid heightened security

There were no protests or arrests as troopers patrolled and the National Guard assumed a lower profile.

West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle. Photo courtesy of King County
Power outages cause massive wastewater spill into Puget Sound, Lake Washington

King County estimates millions gallons of untreated wastewater overflowed into surrounding waters.

Democrats in the Washington State House are proposing to pay for transportation improvements partly by raising the gas tax by 18 cents. (Sound Publishing file photo)
House Democrats lay out massive $26B transportation package funded by gas tax hike

An 18-cent gas tax increase and a fee on carbon emissions would fund new roads and more.

File photo
Report: 70 percent of gun deaths in Washington are attributable to suicide

Research done at The Firearm Injury and Policy Research Program at Harborview… Continue reading

June 2018 algae bloom. Photo courtesy of Department of Ecology
Human-caused ‘dead zones’ threaten health of Puget Sound

Wastewater treatment plants account for about 70% of the excess nutrients.

Most Read