A Hefty Contribution to Needy Neighbors

April 14, 2020

During the COVID-19 crisis, REALTORS® all across the country are stepping up to support their neighbors. Washington REALTORS® last week targeted one of the most immediate concerns—food insecurity—with a $100,000 donation to the Washington Food Fund, a new relief effort set up to support food banks statewide.

“Our members live and work in the communities we serve, and we have a long history of supporting those communities,” says Kitty Wallace, 2020 president of the state association. “Food is the most basic need right now for many of our neighbors, and most food banks are struggling to meet that need.”

Groups at risk of food insecurity include the elderly, people with pre-existing health conditions, the unemployed, and students who rely on schools for free and reduced-priced meals. Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s office estimates that 1.6 million people turned to state food banks for supplies last week—double the usual number.

Similar numbers are reflected across the country. National nonprofit Feeding America reports that 98 percent of its affiliated food banks are seeing an increased demand for food assistance, and the organization estimates that an additional 17.1 million Americans could experience food insecurity as a result of quarantine and stay-at-home orders.

“Washingtonians are generous neighbors who rise to the occasion, and this is a moment for individuals to make a difference,” said Inslee in an April 7 statement announcing the fund. “By coming together and contributing to this fund, we can meet this demand across the state and help our neighbors and their families put a meal on the table.”

The association’s contribution is being made on behalf of its 20,000-plus members and affiliates, who are already volunteering and donating in their own communities, says Steve Francks, CEO of Washington REALTORS®. The funds come from savings realized as a result of the COVID-19 stay-at-home measure, including event cancellations and reduced travel, he says. Washington REALTORS® has a long history of supporting food banks and other community services. Francks says the association hopes to partner with WA Food Fund and help its members become visible ambassadors for COVID-19 relief in every community in Washington.