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Home Team Harvest: The power of the gift card

The Seattle area is seeing an increase in those facing food insecurity and grocery gift cards help expand access to food and provides dignity of choice.

SEATTLE — Byrd Barr Place is one of the organizations benefitting from money donations raised through Home Team Harvest, the state's largest annual food drive. 

Byrd Barr Place was created nearly 60 years ago during the civil rights movement and has been providing safety-net services and building equity for decades.

Andrea Caupain Sanderson, Byrd Barr Place CEO, said they provide basic needs with its market. People are able to pick out food they want off the shelf like any grocery store and have access to fresh produce. The motto of the market is good stuff, always.

“People are having to decide between food, and their lights, food and their rent, or food and other basic services like medical expenses, or transportation or even childcare,” said Caupain Sanderson.

The market is able to make sure people don't have to make that choice, and it's seeing more people from all walks of life facing food insecurity.

“We're seeing an abundance of college students. We're seeing people new to poverty, who maybe were able to take care of themselves pre-pandemic, but they lost their jobs. We’re seeing a lot more seniors who are now on a fixed income,” said Caupain Sanderson.

That’s where the power of a gift card comes in. Byrd Barr Place is one of several locations that Safeway partners with by giving $50 gift cards. It expands access to food on days the market isn't operating and gives people purchasing power they didn't have before.

“We have quite a few clients and that for cancer patients who have very different tastes or dietary needs, where we may not be able to provide for that,” said Caupain Sanderson.

Gift cards increase equity in access to help and provide dignity of choice especially for BIPOC communities.

“We see our elderly seniors who are African Americans who are used to a specific type of food that we don't always carry that the gift cards come in handy,” said Caupain Sanderson.

Most importantly, it gives a sense of relief for those who need help the most. 

“There's a light that goes on and they're like, this is for me, and I don't have to pay it back,” said Caupain Sanderson.

Help KING 5 raise 21 million meals for Home Team Harvest

KING 5’s annual Home Team Harvest drive to benefit Northwest Harvest is underway. This year’s goal is to raise 21 million meals. 

Ways to donate: 

  • Online through Northwest Harvest 
  • Text “HOMETEAM” to 41444 
  • Starting Nov. 1, visit your local Safeway or Albertsons to give $5, $10 or $12 toward grocery cards.
  • Make in-person donations at Lumen Field on Dec. 3 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Watch the Home Team Harvest broadcast special on Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. on KING 5, KING5.com and the KING 5 mobile app.

Watch: Northwest Harvest reducing food insecurity 

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