About 1,000 pounds of food were donated to Hopelink two weeks ago thanks to Evergreen Academy’s “star student,” Ellie Sivesind.
Ellie and her older sister Emma often donate food and other items with their mother, Kimberlee Koplan. Koplan, who lives in Bothell, started the monthly tradition with her girls in April after her husband lost his job.
“It puts things in perspective. You really start to realize what you’re thankful for,” said Koplan, who was six months pregnant at the time. “We turned our energy into being thankful for what we do have. We could still put food on our table and other people can’t, so it made us more passionate about giving back.”
This was the same concept Koplan ingrained in her girls. Their family has donated goods for the last two years. Koplan said she wanted her girls to learn at a young age that there are others out there who are in need.
“It’s important because people need food to survive,” Ellie said. “Some of the people who go to the food bank might have lost their job and don’t have enough money to pay for food now – they could only have enough money to pay for their house or apartment.”
So when Ellie was chosen as “star student,” she got to work – with help from her mom and sister, of course.
Ellie and Emma decided to have a competition between Ellie’s second grade class and Emma’s fourth grade class. They had about a week to donate as much food as they could before they were able to present the goods during a field trip to Hopelink in Kirkland.
“It was great what they did. I was there for the weigh-in and it was a lot of fun,” said Hopelink spokeswoman Kris Betker. “It’s hard not to be positive when you see kids taking on charitable efforts at their school.”
Koplan said the fourth graders won the competition because some of them figured out that bags of potatoes can weigh quite a bit – approximately 50 pounds.
“I was just happy we were donating,” said Emma. “I didn’t care who won but that we were getting the donations!”
Betker said it’s important for children to learn about donating because it provides a new experience. But Betker adds that it’s especially important to consider giving to others in need during the winter season.
“The holiday season is always a difficult time for our families,” Betker said. “The season itself puts added pressure to celebrate and have special meals, which is a tough thing to do.”
During the field trip, Evergreen Academy’s principal Dana Mott saw that Hopelink also takes books. So, she rounded up 1,210 books from the schools library and donated them too.
As a result of the recent donations, Hopelink is now looking to form a partnership with the school.
Evergreen Academy has organized food drives, “Adopt a Family” coat drives and more through their Organization of Parents and Teachers program.
The girls plan on working with their mother, Koplan, to do a school supply drive before the end of the year.
To donate, contact Jason Puz at Hopelink at 425-869-7835 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.