Emergency Food Network (EFN) strives to provide a reliable food supply to 67 food banks and hot-meal sites to ensure that no one in Pierce County goes hungry. Each year, EFN supplies more than 13 million pounds of nutritious food—including fresh produce from its 8-acre organic Mother Earth Farm—for distribution to families and individuals from low-income households.
Rebuilding Together South Sound works to improve the lives of low-income homeowners—particularly those who are elderly, disabled, or have children—by repairing and rebuilding their homes at no cost. Along with year-round home modification and emergency repairs, the organization also hosts an annual event, Rebuilding Day, where a skilled volunteer crew helps transform a home with repairs that might include plumbing, electrical work, and carpentry, along with fixing roofs, windows, and flooring.
For students to be successful in school, they need to know that they’re safe and secure and that people care about them. Working with this in mind, Communities In Schools of Peninsula rallies local support for children and provides programs and services to assist students in ways not always available through the school system. The organization takes a focused approach to helping kids: mentors and volunteers take time to get to know the children, and one mentor usually stays paired with the same students throughout the school year. With this approach, they can coordinate services that meet their students’ specific needs, from helping them get eyeglasses to providing one-on-one afterschool tutoring.
Communities In Schools of Peninsula’s programs include mentoring elementary- and middle-school students in reading and math, raising funds for school supplies for students in need, and supporting school strategies to eliminate bullying and harassment. The organization also connects students with summer-camp scholarships, empowering at-risk youth to stay out of trouble.
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Before opening up shop in 2011, self-taught baker Maricel spent 10 years honing her skills and taste testing her creations with her husband and three daughters. These days, she continues using natural and organic ingredients to whip up cupcakes, mini cupcakes, and tartlets entirely from scratch. The core of her tartlet arsenal remains sweet potato, peach cobbler, and pecan, but her cupcakes and mini cupcakes constantly evolve with innovative flavors such as a maple cupcake topped with bacon pieces and a coconut cupcake slathered with cream cheese frosting. Along with individual and by the dozen purchases, Maricel dispenses her mini cupcakes in bouquets and atop rental towers, which fit 50–60 treats. Every Tuesday through Saturday, she and her dedicated staffers are available to take orders and walk customers through the process of shrinking cakes with repeated dryer sessions.
As part of its mission to empower students to stay in school and achieve in life, Communities In Schools works with schools, social-service providers, and businesses in more than 200 communities across 27 states, including Federal Way, Washington. Its volunteers and outreach coordinators work to equip each young person they serve with the specific tools they require to learn, grow, and succeed, whether they need a pair of eyeglasses or afterschool tutoring. Programs such as Communities In Schools' mentoring program have experienced proven success and resulted in higher graduation rates, according to recent third-party findings.
Communities In Schools, a nationwide organization, supports students in more than 200 communities across 27 states. Within Auburn, the organization reaches youth at all 22 area schools. Giving more than 5,000 hours of their time per year, the Auburn branch’s 118 volunteers organize donation drives for school supplies, join with local food banks to distribute nutritious foods, and run high-quality tutoring programs for students from low-income families. Last year the team tutored 247 students and provided 5,983 Auburn students with school supplies, clothing, shoes, and hygiene products. Driven by these passionate volunteers, the organization proves the strength of its services with a slew of measureable results, such as the fact that of the 247 students that it tutored last year, 87% improved their test scores.