Service League raises $200,000 for community aid

Overlake Service League raised more than $200,000 at the 10th annual Step Up to the Plate Benefit Luncheon on March 19 in Bellevue.

Now in its 98th year of service, OSL provides emergency and family assistance as well as holiday programs and meals to low-income students in the Bellevue School District.

Visual displays of the many different programs were represented at the luncheon along with a fashion show featuring clothes from the OSL Thrift Shop in Bellevue Square. Proceeds from the thrift shop go directly to OSL and will support 18 OSL programs and services.

At the luncheon, center pieces made up of non-perishable food items decorated the center of the tables representing the Breaktime/Mealtime program OSL created to ensure Bellevue students who qualified for free or reduced price lunch were fed over mid-winter and spring break.

According to Trish Carpenter, the director of fundraising for the OSL, 20 percent of the students in Bellevue schools go hungry every day. Last year alone, the OSL and volunteers packed up 28,000 meals for the Breaktime/Mealtime program.

OSL is supported by nearly 300 volunteer members who contribute about 35,000 hours per year in community service. The charitable giving of time enables OSL to direct 86 percent of its funds to services for people in need.

Philanthropists and founders of Intelius Inc., Naveen and Anu Jain, were named the 2009 honorary chairs for the luncheon and spoke of the importance of philanthropy and securing the future of the community and the next generation.

“It is not enough to make life possible, it is our goal to make life worthwhile,” said Anu Jain, quoting the mission of the OSL. “Not only does the OSL have a great mission, but they deliver it well,” she added.

Her husband, Naveen, spoke of his own challenges growing up in India in a lower-class family. He was driven to succeed in life by the people in his community who told him tomorrow will be better. He was spurred on by hope.

“Hope is what brings us all here today. Service League is not just providing the hungry with food, but they are providing them with hope,” Naveen explained. “Hope is our humanity.”

The next opportunity to take part in volunteering for the Breaktime/Mealtime Program is on March 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Bellevue School District Warehouse, 12037 N.E. Fifth St. in Bellevue. Volunteers will pack boxes that will include food and vouchers to be used at the Top Foods at Crossroads Bellevue. For more information call 425.451.1175 or visit www.

Lindsay Larin can be reached at 425.453.4602.