As our communities take historic steps to protect public health in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic, here in the Seattle area, we are beginning to identify and respond to the secondary challenges caused by that response. While critical to slow the spread of the virus, closing schools, businesses and events unfortunately creates uncertainty and hardship—especially for economically vulnerable children and families.
For example, one unfortunate consequence of Washington State Governor Jay Inslee's prudent decision to shut down schools for 6 weeks is that approximately 68,000 children in King County will be left without access to school breakfast and lunch programs.
The strong fabric of our society is woven together by untold numbers of individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and social, professional and neighborhood organizations, and it's inspiring to see them rising to the challenge, caring for friends and neighbors in need. I'm proud to say Icertis' Puget Sound area employees are no different.
Shortly after we instituted work-from-home in our Bellevue office to help control the COVID-19 outbreak, the wife of one of our Icertians, who is a local schoolteacher, identified a first, quick action we could take to contribute to the community response. She brought it to our attention that during the school year, many economically disadvantaged children receive most of their nutrition at school and the school closings could have an adverse impact on these children's health and wellbeing.
At Icertis, we gather each day to share a meal, which the company funds. But with everyone working remotely, there's no need to buy these meals. So, while we are working from home, we're donating $50,000 of our lunch money to the Alliance for Education to help provide between 20,000 to 25,000 meals to school children in need.
The Alliance for Education is a highly respected non-profit that works to connect community resources to Seattle Public Schools, with a particular focus on making sure all students, especially our community's most vulnerable students, have access to the opportunities and supports they need. The Alliance is currently organizing support from local businesses and philanthropy to address food insecurity experienced by area students and will distribute those funds to the areas of greatest need.
This donation continues our employees’ long-standing commitment to addressing food insecurity. In the past 2 years alone, Icertians have donated over $26,000 and thousands of pounds of food to charities. These efforts have included:
- Past participation in Hopelink "End Summer Hunger" food drives which provide for kids during the summer when school lunch programs are not available.
- Donations to Union Gospel Mission soup kitchen which serves homeless men, women and children in King County.
- Donations of leftover food from the company's daily lunch to The Sophia Way, a charity committed to ending homelessness for women in King County.
We're likely still in the early days of this ordeal. As a software company, Icertis is fortunate to be able to continue our operations while working from home. We're inspired to see the community stepping up in ways both large and small. And we'll continue to look for ways in which we can pitch in to help.