At the eighth annual Helping Kids Thrive Luncheon, held on Wednesday at the Meydenbauer in Bellevue, Eastside Baby Corner displayed examples of the items it donates to families in need. Eastside Baby Corner provides children in need with everything from their first bicycle to basic toiletries. Nicole Jennings, Reporter Newspapers

At the eighth annual Helping Kids Thrive Luncheon, held on Wednesday at the Meydenbauer in Bellevue, Eastside Baby Corner displayed examples of the items it donates to families in need. Eastside Baby Corner provides children in need with everything from their first bicycle to basic toiletries. Nicole Jennings, Reporter Newspapers

Eastside Baby Corner luncheon raises more than $335,000 for ‘brighter futures’

Nonprofit provides clothing, diapers and more to children in four counties

As the lights went down and the Meydenbauer’s banquet room was plunged into darkness, tiny lights flickered at every table, giving the effect of hundreds of stars in the night sky.

Using the flashlights they had found at their seats upon arrival, guests were responding to the call to be a beacon of hope for children in need.

With the luncheon’s theme of “Simple Ideas for Brighter Futures,” guests shone flashlights to represent how they plan to be a beacon of hope for needy children. Nicole Jennings, Reporter Newspapers

With the luncheon’s theme of “Simple Ideas for Brighter Futures,” guests shone flashlights to represent how they plan to be a beacon of hope for needy children. Nicole Jennings, Reporter Newspapers

Eastside Baby Corner’s eighth annual Helping Kids Thrive Luncheon, held on Wednesday at Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Center and this year themed “Simple Ideas for Brighter Futures,” literally shone a light on the difficulties facing children whose families are struggling to get by financially.

The luncheon raised more than $335,000 for Eastside Baby Corner and drew about 865 attendees. KING 5 news anchor Steve Bunin acted as emcee.

The Issaquah-based nonprofit, which also has hubs in Kenmore and Bremerton, provides clothing, baby formula, diapers, toys, car seats, toiletries and more to children from birth through age 12, as well as provides maternity clothing and other necessities for expectant mothers. Over 80,000 items are given to children in need each year in King, Kitsap, south Snohomish and west Pierce counties.

“Eastside Baby Corner is a very simple idea with profound results,” stated Kim Foster, who co-chaired the luncheon with her husband Dan Foster.

Pediatrician Benjamin Hoffman gives the keynote address, focused on advocating for children from low-income backgrounds. Nicole Jennings, Reporter Newspapers

Pediatrician Benjamin Hoffman gives the keynote address, focused on advocating for children from low-income backgrounds. Nicole Jennings, Reporter Newspapers

Keynote speaker Benjamin Hoffman, a Portland pediatrician and former chief resident at Seattle Children’s Hospital, told the audience that 40 percent of kids in Washington come from low-income families, and one in 10 children live in deep poverty.

In expensive Washington state, Hoffman said, even households with two working parents often struggle to make rent.

“You can work full-time and still not even crack the poverty line,” he said.

Poverty can actually impact a child’s brain development. Living with the stress and disadvantages of a low-income background “builds a brain that’s not gonna be able to do what it needs to do,” Hoffman explained.

Unfortunately, Hoffman said, an overwhelming majority of charity dollars are given to children after their brains have mostly developed; it is the first 1,000 days of life that are the most crucial. This is why physicians “need partners like Eastside Baby Corner,” Hoffman said.

He pointed out that because no child has the ability to vote, children lack the power that is needed to effect change.

“We need you to give power to kids — to take over the ability to act and advocate on their behalf,” he said.

A typical “big bundle” given to a little boy, with enough clothes to last for a week. Nicole Jennings, Reporter Newspapers

A typical “big bundle” given to a little boy, with enough clothes to last for a week. Nicole Jennings, Reporter Newspapers

Kathy Wood, Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program family support specialist with the Issaquah School District, spoke about the people she helps every single day, such as Monica, a single mother raising first- and second-grade daughters.

“I could not give them a sense of hope if it wasn’t for Eastside Baby Corner,” Wood said.

For more information about how to volunteer or make a donation, visit www.babycorner.org.

Nicole Jennings/staff photo

Nicole Jennings/staff photo

More in Life

Northshore schools spread holiday cheer with concerts and plays

All events are open to the public and are held at the school.

GOP tax plan leaves housing market in a wait-and-see mood

Buyers are concerned about anticipated changes to mortgage interest and property tax deductions

Cities of Kenmore and Bothell ring in the holiday season

Each city hosted a tree lighting event over the weekend.

Toy and food donations will help Kenmore residents in need through Dec. 8

The City of Kenmore is partnering with Cedar Park Northshore Church Food… Continue reading

A Keener’s Christmas: Local couple decorates home for a good cause

Jeff and Candice Keener are collecting financial donations for Strong Against Cancer and non-perishable food items for Hopelink.

Kenmore Tree Lighting Festival commences the holiday season

Downtown Kenmore will shine brightly to begin the holiday season as the… Continue reading

Young Kenmore author includes adventures and lessons in her stories

9-year-old Amy Zhao has published four books by the time she reached fourth grade.

KCLS honors friends of library and volunteers

The library system recognized 15 honorees at its annual celebration of volunteers, Friends’ Day

Courtesy of the Greater Bothell Chamber of Commerce
Holiday spirits walk in Downtown Bothell

Downtown Bothell will host a holiday wine, beer and spirits walk on… Continue reading

Kirkland Choral Society performance set for Dec. 2-3

The performances will be at Bastyr Chapel in Kenmore.

Cascadia College establishes Bock Center honoring Kirkland benefactors

The school recently received $570,000 from Margaret Bock

First Santa photography business continues to capture his magic within the community

Arthur & Associates Holiday Photographers claims to be the first to take portraits of children with department store Santas.