Growing up in the Greater Seattle area, the Fremont Fair is an event I frequented quite often during summer break. From colorful costumes with feathers flying all the over the place to the delicious elephant ears, it's an event that I never missed.
This year, working as a Brand Ambassador for PEMCO, I got an inside-glimpse of the behind-the-scenes action. Did you know that setting up the Fremont Fair is an all-night affair for volunteers? Or that the event annually collects about $55,000 for Solid Ground, a local charity committed to ending poverty in the local area? I surely didn't.
In fact, before this year, I had no clue how much work went into putting on a free weekend event for 100,000 people benefiting a local cause.
But... at the event, we had the opportunity to interview Mike Buchman, the Communications Manager of Solid Ground. We candidly asked him a few questions about Solid Ground and why we should care about Seattle's homeless population. He gave us a surprising answer and talked about the statistics showing that face of homelessness in King County is changing.
He mentioned that while we do have a small population of panhandlers on the streets, more and more, Solid Ground is seeing working professionals come through the food banks because they've lost their jobs. These people are our neighbors - people who had jobs, who worked for ten, twenty years loyally for one company. These are people who are educated, who have children going to school.
What Solid Ground does is provide shelter, food, basic home care, transportation and other services to about 38,000 families throughout King County and each year, they hold Fremont Fair as means for the community to band together to raise funds and awareness for people with low incomes.
For me, now the Fremont Fair is not just about good times with friends, people watching, or even the 'interesting' bike ride. It's more about building community to end poverty.