With layoffs in Washington state mounting, demand for safety net programs such as food for children living in poverty is increasing dramatically. On Saturday, May 16, the Seattle Mariners, 710 ESPN Seattle and Northwest Harvest teamed up to help fill the pantry for what is expected to be a particularly tough summer for struggling families. Approximately 16 percent of the children in Washington live below the federal poverty level. Over the next year, it is expected that an additional 40,000 children in Washington will join their ranks. Through promotional announcements, PSAs, and an on-site appearance at the Seattle Mariners game on May 16, we helped raise more than $6,000 and collect 2,514 pounds of food, which went directly to benefit Northwest Harvest, the Washington's only statewide hunger relief agency.
We loaned a helping hand by promoting a drive to support the construction of a new baseball field for the Miracle League, a youth baseball league for children with special needs. The organization offers kids with special needs an opportunity to suit up in a uniform, step up to the plate, and enjoy playing the game of baseball in its purest form. It's a dream most of these children would not be able to realize as members of a traditional youth league. Our reporter Erin Covey interviewed the children and families involved with the league. Video of baseball practice was posted on our Web site, MyNorthwest.com, along with audio of the Miracle League feature. We encouraged others to donate to the cause and support the construction on Rotary Field, which began this spring.
We partnered with the Seattle Sounders FC for a soccer ball drive on June 28 at Qwest Field. There, fans donated soccer balls, which were collected by U.S. soldiers and distributed to the children of Iraq on behalf of the "Kick for Nick Foundation," a nonprofit organization named in honor of Private Nicolas Madaras, whose love for soccer and the children of Iraq lives on through this foundation. All donations went directly to purchase soccer balls, pumps, and packaging materials. Our afternoon host, David Boze, interviewed the founders of the Kick for Nick Foundation and encouraged listeners to contribute to the cause. With our, $1,718 was donated, and 163 soccer balls were collected and distributed to the children of Iraq.