LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

If you want to feel the spirit of the season, just stop by the food bank in Seattle's Lake City neighborhood. It's a place that doesn't just give out food to the needy; it's much more than that.

This food bank is about love, said Executive Director John Klevins. This food bank is about transforming lives.

But after 23 years of giving to this community, North Helpline food bank needs help themselves. This has been the worst year yet for the food bank, which serves 1,700 people a week. Giving from corporations and foundations are down and donations are dwindling too.

After taking the job a few months ago, Klevins looked at the numbers and realized they couldn't sustain much longer and did something drastic to keep the doors open.

I told my board we can't operate at that level if I continue to draw a salary, said Klevins.

So, the giving started from the top down. Klevins hasn't been paid since October and some of his staff volunteered a cut in salary or a cut in hours.

Well it's such a good cause and there are so many needy people out there, we feel that it's worth it, said Lynda Locke, projects coordinator.

Without that move, North Helpline, which have to eliminate its emergency services program, which helps its clients pay for rent, utilities or bus passes, switch to all volunteers and barely be able to keep the lights on.

You may be wondering why the staff felt compelled to give in this way. Klevins explains the motivation comes from knowing what a difference the food bank makes in people's lives.

I noticed that when people would walk in, they'd feel downtrodden, almost ashamed of having to be here. When they walk out the other side, it's a complete different emotion.

In this season of giving, Klevins says it seems only the right thing to do.

You get so much more out of giving. You receive so much more, said Klevins.

To find out more about helping North Helpline, go to www.northhelpline.org.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/2014/08/03/13202104/