Archives Spotlight: The wager that started the Well Fed, Well Read food and book drive

Archives Spotlight: The wager that started the Well Fed, Well Read food and book drive

The Well Fed, Well Read campaign is an annual food and book drive put on by the Combined Fund Drive, Thurston County Food Bank, and South Sound Reading Foundation. It brings in thousands of food items, books, and monetary donations from state agencies across Washington.

The drive officially launched 19 years ago, when the food bank and reading foundation took control. According to Thurston County Food Bank Executive Director Robert Coit, its origins are rooted in the early 1990s, when the directors at Washington’s Lottery and the Washington State Department of Commerce made a friendly wager on which agency could donate the most food and books. The combination of community service and competition went over very well for both agencies. After the campaign grew over the years, the Thurston County Food Bank and South Sound Reading Foundation assumed the duties.

In 2019, the campaign’s competitive spirit is alive and well. State agencies are compared with others of similar size to see which brought in the most during each year.

This year’s drive runs from April 1-12. The Office of Secretary of State will strive to help the state surpass last year’s totals of 11,673 pounds of food and 10,290 children’s books. Workers for any agency not participating in the campaign can take non-perishable food items and children’s books to the Secretary of State’s office in the Legislative Building, where the lobby staff will accept donations.

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