Legislative Update: Two USDA Programs Help Kids Get Food Through Summer

Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a nationwide extension of a program that has been helping to feed families. Local partners – such as schools and nonprofit organizations – have been serving meals to kids during coronavirus school closures. These partners will be able to continue serving free meals to all children through August 31. This extension is for a waiver of  area eligibility, allowing all children in all areas to receive free meals. Typically, USDA-funded summer meals sites are only for low-income areas. The nearest location to Hazel Wolf with this service is Olympic Hills elementary school at 13018 20th Ave NE.

In addition, a new USDA program called Pandemic-EBT provides food-purchasing benefits, equal to the value of school meals, to households with children who would qualify for free or reduced-price meals at school based on household income. To see if this can help your family, call the Lake City customer service center at 206-684-7526 or visit https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/community-services-offices/basic-food

Families can also use Meals for Kids, an interactive finder with more than 60,000 sites to find free meals for children in their area.

Honor Pantry Update – May 20

Please take what you need and leave what you can! Thank you all for your continued support of the honor pantry at the school building. Drop off items at the front of the school at any time.

The fastest moving and most requested items at the pantry are:

  • personal hygiene items: such as hand soap*, shampoo (Suave, Pantene), toothpaste, diapers, toilet paper*, hand sanitizer, tampons and pads
  • cleaning supplies*: such as bleach, disinfecting wipes, laundry detergent, dish soap and paper towels

    *Please note: Since many of these items have limits on purchases at stores, we appreciate those who can pick up an extra when they shop and donate to the pantry. Many families have limited transportation and therefore do not have the ability to shop around to track down hard to find essentials in stock.

Families are also appreciating fun games, activities and arts & crafts sets.

Additionally you can contribute to the pantry through an updated Amazon Wishlist.

If your family could use help with supplemental grocery delivery, or if you’d like to be added to our list of drivers, you can email Tracy Buckingham at: familysupport@hazelwolfk8.org.

Support Hazel Wolf K-8 PTSA through GiveBIG Community Fundraising Event

Thousands of people will show their support for their favorite Washington nonprofits during GiveBIG, a community fundraising event that began April 15 and runs through Wednesday, May 6. Show your support for Hazel Wolf K-8 PTSA and our mission, by telling your friends and colleagues about why you support us.

Thanks to four generous families, gifts to Hazel Wolf K-8 PTSA can be doubled through the GiveBIG campaign! The first $6,000 of donations will be matched by our donors. This means matching funds will double the impact of your gift and help us raise even more funds.
There are many ways you can help make GiveBIG a success, including:

  1. Make a donation now or mark your calendar for the May 6, event deadline. Save this link: https://www.givebigwa.org/hazel-wolf-k-8-ptsa to make your donation!
  2. Follow us on Facebook and share our posts to help build momentum by telling your friends and family why you support us.
  3. Spread the word! Share this link: https://www.givebigwa.org/hazel-wolf-k-8-ptsa and a message with your family and friends along with a personal note, telling why you support our organization and why they should GiveBIG to Hazel Wolf K-8 PTSA by May 6.

    Help us turn $6,000 into $12,000. Every donation, big or small, helps get us to our goal. This is a perfect opportunity to make a donation and double the impact. Thank you for supporting Hazel Wolf K-8 PTSA during this great event of community giving.

Legislative Update, Call to Action

Federal Rule Change: School and Summer Meals

The USDA is trying to change rules about who can access free or reduced-price school meals. This would be especially hard on Seattle kids because our high cost of living offsets incomes, allowing some more middle-income families to get subsidized school meals.

Additionally, if fewer kids in a school qualify for subsidized meals, the school can lose its Title 1 status. That means a major loss of funding and supports that help reduce class sizes and provide wrap-around services. In our neighborhood, Olympic Hills and Northgate Elementary schools currently qualify for Title 1.

Technically, a comment period on a proposed rule is not a voting exercise. However, hearing from a large group of parents can make a difference. Submitting unique comments is better than form letters, for those who can send something personal. In addition to the harm this would cause locally, here are some key points:

·  The Regulatory Impact Analysis failed to include the rule’s impact on the School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program

·  The draft rule fails to analyze long-term impacts and associated costs, including potential for reduced high school graduation rates, adult earnings, and community health impacts

·  The draft rule fails to account for impacts to Title 1 schools in high-cost areas. Loss of Title 1 funding and supports could be catastrophic to the educational objectives set by Department of Education for these schools.

The reforms were announced on January 17, 2020. For additional details about these proposals, see: School Meals Reform FactsheetSummer Meals Reform Factsheet and USDA Sets the Record Straight on Proposed School Meals Flexibilities.

The comment period will be extended 30 days and ends April 22, 2020. This extension will allow schools, state agencies, stakeholders, and others who are working tirelessly to ensure children have food to eat while schools are closed the opportunity to provide valuable feedback. Please submit comments via regulations.gov.

State Legislative Session Closes

The Washington State legislature adjourned “sine die” on March 12. To support COVID-19 efforts, the Legislature appropriated $200 million, of which $25 million was set aside in a new unemployment account created to support employees who need these benefits during school and business closures and time off to care for themselves or affected family members. On the final day of session, several amendments were adopted, including one that gives the State Board of Education the authority to grant waivers for students in the class of 2020 or before who are on track to graduate but are affected by school closures.

A pdf with a full recap from the Washington State PTA on education-related budget and legislative items is here

Now is the time: Online Auction Closes Tonight, April 5th, 9:00pm

Now is the time, Wolfpack! The online auction closes Sunday, April 5th at 9:00pm– We still have a long way to go to meet our fundraising goal.

There are many spots left for the Grade Level Events.

The cost for Costa Rica vacation dropped to $1999, a true bargain for 5-nights for a family of 4.

Check out these events with spots still available: Soda Rocket Launch, Debbie’s Murder Mystery Party, Pinehurst Cocktail Crawl, Texas Hold ‘Em Event– all a super fun time and a great way to get to know more folks in our community.

Bidding is heating up on all the Classroom art, too.

Get your bid on!

**Also, please know that all events WILL happen, even if they have to be rescheduled to the Fall.**

If you simply want to make a donation, don’t forget to stop by our General Fund Donation page. Check out all the videos provided by our educators. Also, you can choose to donate to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund or Olympic Hills Elementary School on the auction site as well.

Every dollar helps get us closer to our goal. https://hazelwolf2020.ggo.bid

Another Food Drive Update

Food Drive will be ongoing until at least April 15th. 

Help support Hazel Wolf families with food support over the emergency school closure by grocery shopping for pantry staples, toilet paper, bleach, and long-shelf-life produce. Amazon delivery is currently backed-up, and we are hoping to deliver groceries next week and multiple times throughout the closure.

Please consider purchasing long-life produce such as apples, oranges, bananas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, onions etc…

Please plan on delivering produce on Wednesday, 3/18 or Thursday, 3/19 to ensure freshness.

We would like to be able to deliver toilet paper and bleach or Clorox, as well. We also still need pantry staples: peanut butter, rice, dried and canned black, pinto, & kidney, garbanzo beans, pancake mix, pasta sauce, canned or boxed soup, milk in aseptic containers, cereal, crackers, bars, tortillas etc…

Please sign up so we know what to expect: https://signup.com/go/XOqrVJC. Please email Tracy at: familysupport@hazelwolfk8.org for drop-off location address.

Also, if you are unable to purchase groceries yourself, but you want to help– parent volunteer, Kelly Page, is willing to buy groceries on your behalf. If interested, please contact Kelly at kelly.page @hotmail.com. Venmo: Kelly Page@Kelly-Page-21. These groceries will be packed up with other donations.

We’ll update everyone with future asks and delivery dates as we continue to assess needs. Thank you!

Please email Tracy at: familysupport@hazelwolfk8.org with any questions or if your family could use extra support during this time.