Announcing our Basic Needs Awardees

Best Starts for Kids is excited to announce our three community partners who received Basic Needs Resource Brokering Funding. Congratulations to the Tilth Alliance, WestSide Baby and Eastside Baby Corner. In total, Best Starts awarded $961,000 to help meet basic needs in King County.

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Many preschool students benefit from nutritious “Good Food Bags” that are provided by the Tilth Alliance and now supported by Best Starts for Kids. The fresh, organic produce is sourced from local farmers. The Tilth Alliance specifically works with small, local, family farmers, in an effort to benefit more than just the food’s recipients.

Basic needs are the things that young children and their families need to support healthy growth and development such as diapers, cribs, car seats, formula, clothing, etc. Meeting basic needs can improve both family and child outcomes, for many reasons, including reducing stress. These community partners serve as “resource brokers” by securing resources through established relationships that result in public and private partnerships and manufacturer bulk buys. By maintaining a large inventory of basic needs items, resource brokers function as distribution centers for community-based organizations that work directly with children and families. Learn more about resource brokering in this earlier blog post.

Tilth Alliance

In King County, we know that 30% of King County families with young children (5th grade and younger) find it hard to cover basics like food some, most, or all of the time. (Data sourced from Best Starts for Kids Health Survey)

  • This is true for 43% of families living in the South King County region which is significantly higher compared to all King County families.
  • There are wide disparities among families. The percentage of families who find it hard to cover food is significantly higher for Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander families (70%), Somali families (69%), Black/African American families (64%), LGB families (62%) and Latinx families (47%).

To meet this need, Best Starts for Kids is excited to partner with the Tilth Alliance, whose mission is to build an ecologically sound, economically viable and socially equitable food system. Their food program is unique–they collect fresh food, that is culturally appropriate and specific, from local farmers to provide to families in need. Tilth Alliance lives their equity values by supporting small, local family farmers, many from communities of color, with a living wage, in an effort to benefit more than just the food’s recipients.

Tilth Alliance reduces food insecurity by supporting local preschool programs in King County through a “Good Food Bag” program. Each cost-subsidized bag contains a variety of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, plus a recipe to try using ingredients from the bag. The produce in each bag is grown organically to ensure that the quality of food is healthy for our bodies and for our planet.  Last year the program distributed more than 10,000 bags to 34 preschool sites. Best Starts funding will support the Good Food Bag program so more families receive food bags.

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A Tilth Alliance Good Food Bag recipient

WestSide Baby and Eastside Baby Corner

In King County, 23% of King County families with young children (5th grade and younger) find it hard to cover basics like diapers or formula some, most, or all of the time. (Data sourced from Best Starts for Kids Health Survey)

  • This is true for 36% of families living in the South King County region which is significantly higher compared to all King County families.
  • There are wide disparities among families. The percentage of families who find it hard to cover diapers or formula is significantly higher for Somali families (75%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander families (61%), LGB families (45%), Black/African American families (42%), and Latinx families (37%).

Best Starts is partnering with two organizations in King County that provide essential items like diapers, clothing, baby gear and more to families and children in need.

In 2017, WestSide Baby distributed 1.4 million diapers, 750 safe sleep options, and 1,130 car seats with the help of almost 2,300 volunteers!

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Best Starts for Kids funding will allow WestSide Baby to meet more of the need for children’s essentials, such as diapers and car seats, while also enabling the organization to make data-driven decisions to more effectively address the root causes of diaper need. In addition to building capacity, WestSide Baby shared,

A grant from BSK will allow us to further measure and evaluate the effectiveness of providing basic needs to support healthy child development, use outcome measurements and demographic data to significantly expand our services with an equity-based approach, and advocate for basic needs as part of proven long-term solutions for healthy childhood development.”

EastSide Baby Corner serves a broad area across King County that extends to the Cascade foothills and from south of Renton into south Snohomish County. Eastside Baby Corner serves as a diaper bank, a clothing bank, and a food source for more than 800 kids each week and is the major source of baby food, formula, diapers, cribs and car seats for eleven local food banks.

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A grateful and adorable recipient of a car seat and diapers from Eastside Baby Corner

Eastside Baby Corner works to reduce the effects of community, income or societal inequities. As a resource broker, Eastside Baby Corner empowers agency partners, programs, and providers to concentrate their resources and expertise on supporting and building trust with families, delivering a broad spectrum of health and social services to their clients. With basic needs for their children met, families want to participate longer and can become more successful in programs. Tangible support helps them build on their own strengths, developing their core capabilities and resiliency. Their children have their nutrition, health, safety and developmental needs met.

Eastside Baby Corner staff shared,

“Best Starts funding is helping us provide tangible support for kids and their families, including low-income families, immigrant and refugee families, families of color, foster children, and families in disruption across the Eastside Baby Corner service area in King County.  Our hope is to meet the needs of the families in current partner programs, and the needs of agency partners.  Eastside Baby Corner also hopes to identify — and close—gaps in service in our area with the support of Best Starts for Kids.”

These awards are part of our Best Starts Community-Based Parenting and Peer Supports multi-approach strategy, helping families meet their basic needs from material goods to food, to providing educational resources on children’s development, to offering other supports to parents from social connection to breastfeeding. Parents can better contribute to the health of their families, children’s development and communities, when parents are healthy and well. Investments within this strategy strengthen community supports for expectant and new parents, increasing the likelihood that all children and families have the very best start. More RFPs will be opening soon within this strategy area so stay tuned!

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