Corporate employees help Share feed hungry

Money from Kaiser Permanente, CenturyLink boosts Vancouver agency that serves homeless

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian Arts & Features Reporter



Learn more at Share.

Learn more at Share.

Share, a leading local agency that cares for the hungry and homeless, received a couple of big corporate gifts this month.

In both cases, the gifts were driven by the workers themselves, who dug into their own pockets for donations or volunteered their time to leverage the money, which will bolster Share’s efforts to feed hungry children and families over the summer and throughout the year.

Telecommunications giant CenturyLink held a “Feed the Children Backpack Buddies Food Drive” in early June at hundreds of company locations across the nation. Employees raised both money and food, and the CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation then employed “a complicated formula” to calculate its match, said Share spokeswoman Jessica Lightheart. (A call to spokesman Martin Flynn of CenturyLink seeking an explanation of the complexity went unreturned Friday.)

The bottom line is, the CenturyLink Foundation allocated $1 million to hunger relief programs around the nation, and the largest single chunk of that money — $183,976 — went to Share in the form of a matching grant. That lifted the total for Share’s annual spring Hunger Appeal drive to $271,334.

CenturyLink is the third largest telecommunications company in the United States.

And, $20,000 came from Kaiser Permanente’s “KP Gives” Volunteer Grant program. That’s an internal Kaiser program that rewards employees for the time they spend volunteering. “If they volunteer 25 hours in a 12-month period” for a nonprofit agency that provides basic needs or operates self-sufficiency programs, that nonprofit can be eligible for a grant, said grants and donations coordinator Diane Gill.

Share’s annual spring Hunger Appeal drive bolsters the agency’s Hunger Response efforts, which include hot meals at Share House, weekend food sent home with schoolchildren, free summer lunches at park programs, and more. Overall, Share’s Hunger Response provides more than 152,500 free meals to hungry men, women and children each year.

According to its most recent financial statement, just under 4 percent of Share’s 2012 income, or $243,964, came from foundation grants. Total income for 2012 was $6.43 million.

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