The Kirkland Parks and Community Foundation (KPCF) is a proud supporters and partners with the Kirkland Nourishing Network (KNN). KPCF provided fiscal support during the initial months of the Covid-19 pandemic and jumped in to provide assistance with several feeding and education programs. The Nourishing Network philosophy is that “no one entity can do it all, but together we can.”
The Nourishing Network philosophy is that “no one entity can do it all, but together we can?” Today there are seven Nourishing Networks spread out across East King County. The Nourishing Network model was implemented in 2011 by a group of passionate community builders; Karma Ruder, Linda Benson, Kirkland’s James Whitfield and many more. This dynamic group of leaders were thinking about community building in a different way! The network model vision was focused on relationship building, coming together with offerings and an opportunity to express needs. The dream was to develop shared purpose and collaboration around basic needs. Linda Benson, a former Development Director for Hopelink identified a massive problem with connecting donor and volunteer offerings to the great needs that quickly arose during the 2008-2010 recession. Hopelink at that time received an overwhelming number of phone calls from community members who wanted to help those in need and at the same time there were thousands of people struggling with sudden job loss, extreme poverty, financial crisis, and not being able to put enough food on the table. The best nonprofits were not prepared for the flux of need and the outpour of available help. The Nourishing Network was a grassroots effort to increase communication and opportunities for community members to ‘plug in’ with ways to provide immediate assistance.
As one of the first Nourishing Network facilitators and founding board members I can attest that there was something different about how Linda brought the community together. It was a time when amazing work was happening at churches, in service programs like Kiwanis and Rotary, with city governments, and in the nonprofit sector. Even though amazing work was happening there were still big gaps and much of the work was happening in quiet silos. The Nourishing Network model had quick success in the Issaquah community. In Issaquah where we had duplication of programs and services we began to collaborate, save resources, and simplify access for the people in need of the services. We developed new partnerships that equated to feeding more people throughout the far edges of our community. We worked together and hosted community resource events. Most importantly…. If you had a question about programs, services, or resources, someone in the network would know where to guide you.
When I first arrived in Kirkland, I knew exactly where to go to learn about the needs in this community. The Kirkland Nourishing Network meets monthly and is a robust, cross-sector group that joins together to address basic needs in the Kirkland area. The KNN works together to share resources and ideas so they can better support the Kirkland community needs.
Nourishing Networks Consortium sponsors the KNN School Break Food Box Program and Families Helping Families. These programs support food-insecure families in Kirkland by providing food resources during school breaks. Donate or learn more.
Next KNN meeting: Online meeting, Tuesday, December 13th from 4:00pm – 5:00pm. Meetings are held the 2nd Tuesday of the month, 4:00pm – 5:00pm. All are welcome! Subscribe to the KNN listserv to get the link to the meeting!