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

The nose of the 500th 787 Dreamliner at the assembly plant in Everett on Sept. 21, 2016. (Kevin Clark / Herald, file)
Report: Boeing will end 787 Dreamliner production in Everett

Boeing declined comment on a Wall Street Journal story saying the passenger jet’s assembly will move to South Carolina.

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Surge in consumer spending eases state budget challenges

A jump in tax collections cuts a projected $9 billion shortfall in half, acccording to new forecast.

High speed rail and hub cities explored in Cascadia Corridor study

A new paper outlines a potential plan for the region.

Should state cover school bus costs if there are no riders?

With funding tied to getting students to school, districts are uncertain how much money they’ll receive.

A view of the Palmer Fire, located seven miles southwest of Oroville in north central Washington. Source: InciWeb
Antifa isn’t starting Washington wildfires

Online conspiracy theories are spreading as the West Coast burns.

The truck of the Renton family as it was found Tuesday. While fleeing the Cold Springs Fire two adults were severely burned and one toddler died. Courtesy photo/Okanogan Sheriff’s Office
Toddler killed as Renton family flees Cold Springs Fire

The parents were severely burned and are being treated at Harborview Medical Center

A plane drops fire retardant on the Palmer Mountain Fire last week. The fire is listed as 84 percent contained, and fully lined. Laura Knowlton/Sound Publishing staff photo
Threat multiplier: How climate change, coronavirus and weather are scorching WA

Dry summer conspired with the pandemic and a wind storm.

New chamber fund helps Bellevue students access internet

The fundraising effort supports the hundreds of kids in the district without high-speed internet

Screenshot from the state Employment Security Department’s website at esd.wa.gov.
Workers may qualify for an extra $1,500 in unemployment back pay

A federal program will give some of the state’s unemployed a $300 weekly bump for the past five weeks.

King County moves to Stage 2 burn ban

Outdoor fires, even barbecues or in fire pits, are now prohibited.

Image courtesy of the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
Massive wildfires incinerate WA

All state Department of Natural Resources lands were closed to recreational activities on Sept. 8.