donor spotlight on kim and bailey
Powerhouse philanthropy: daughter Bailey and mother Kim.
kim and bailey: giving everyone the space to breathe
by Elizabeth Russell
"I THINK MY FRIEND IS HOMELESS."
Bailey, then just a little girl, spoke out of the blue. Her mother, Kim, replied, “What do you mean?”
"I think they're sleeping in their car. Mom, do you think they can stay at our house sometimes, just so that they can have breath?”
Kim didn't hesitate. “Of course they can come over and stay with us, and get breath.”
“Breath” is a bit of shorthand between mother and daughter. In their household, “breath” can describe a space where one can manage some of life’s obstacles. Kim says that sometimes it’s about “finding your breath for a moment, and that will help you navigate whatever is overwhelming you.”
THE LITTLE GIRL WITH A BIG HEART
Another day, Bailey saw a food drive advertised at one of Kirkland’s programs. Immediately, she pointed it out to her mother.
“Mom, we need to sign up!”
Kim being Kim, replied, “Of course we do.”
Together, mother and daughter signed up to collect food for a 2-hour time period. At the food drive, a gentleman with good intentions asked Bailey, “Do you know what you’re collecting food for?”
“Well my friend is sleeping in their car with their family,” Bailey said. “I know that they go to Hopelink for food and I want to make sure there’s enough food on the shelves through winter.”
The man stood there shocked with his jaw dropped and ended up donating two bags of food. After hearing her daughter’s response, Kim said that it was “an eye-opener that she really got it.”
PARTIES AND CAROLLING WITH A PHILANTHROPIC TWIST!
Bailey also noticed that kids at her school got food in their backpacks on Fridays from Pantry Packs, a program that discreetly supplies food to students who may not have enough food at home for when school is out.
Naturally, mother and daughter were drawn to help.
Kim and Bailey started participating in “packing parties” where they helped put together the packs of food before being distributed to the schools. This program spoke to their hearts. Motivated to find ways to expand her reach and help as many children as possible, Kim created her very own Facebook fundraising page to raise funds for Pantry Packs.
When her 50th birthday rolled around, Kim rented out a local senior center to celebrate, but what was the ticket to get in? A birthday present for Kim? No, in fact guests were required to either bring a cash donation or food item to benefit Pantry Packs. Overall, she received approximately $1,400 in cash donations and 300 pounds of food.
Bailey also found a creative way to give back recently by going Christmas caroling with some friends around the neighborhood to collect food. In one hour, about 50 pounds were collected for a school food drive.
Reflecting on kids not having enough food, Kim said, “How can you think? How can you learn? How can you grow without having just the basic nutrition?”
….AND THESE TWO KEEP ON GOING.
They carry Subway gift cards, socks, toothbrushes, and the like so they can hand them to someone in need in a moment’s notice. Kim herself is also known to stop at drive-thrus to get a meal for another in need. However, she will make sure there is some nutritional value such as adding a banana or salad.
Kim says, “If there is something that maybe takes care of the whole person a little bit better and allows more of a personal touch, then I kind of prefer that.”
The giving from these two is endless. On Wednesday nights, Kim helps prepare food for approximately 50-100 people at a church. And it’s not just for people experiencing homelessness; everyone is welcome. In fact, local construction workers like to join. You’ll also find Bailey interacting with the kids, acting as a recreation leader.
Kim says, “I love that meal because it puts everybody there on a level playing field. It’s just people who are eating dinner.”
It seems that Kim and Bailey’s generosity is never-ending, and it all began with Bailey’s personal connection to her friend. Kim recalls, “It really started because my daughter saw that she had a friend who was in need and she wanted to make sure that her friend and other kids in that situation were supported and cared for.”
So what are Kim and Bailey’s plans for the future? They want to continue supporting Pantry Packs and participate in more packing parties. Kim also wants to do another online fundraiser this spring.
Kim reflects on why she gives back.
“Our people are important," she says. "Every single person in our community is important.”
A big applause to Kim and Bailey for their relentless efforts in helping the many people around them. We hope that their story inspires others to reach out so that they too, can have “breath.”