Tucked away on a small lot near Haller Lake is one of the last mobile home parks in Seattle. Modest but vibrant and relatively affordable, especially for a city that still has skyrocketing rents, Bella-B Mobile Home Park caters to families. Kids’ toys mingle with flowers on front porches and children cruise around on bicycles. Most of the 69 households there include children, with an average family size of three kids, their parents, and often extended family members. Most residents are Latinx, with many parents and elders speaking English as a second language.
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have hit hard. Linda (her dog Ohana guards some HIP meals) has been the manager for 22 years and knows the community well. She says “Many of these parents are overwhelmed. This is a hardworking community with tight-knit families who have always had jobs. With layoffs and school closures, that’s not always possible.”
HIP has extended its Summer Meals program as long as schools are closed to feed families like these. Meals include lunches every day, a weeks worth of breakfasts, and Healthy HIP Packs for weekends.
Mom gets an assist
One such family is shown on the right. Myleshia is a single mom of three bright-eyed young daughters. Samantha is 11, Elizabeth 5, and Layla-Ann 4.Their lives changed dramatically in March. Myleshia had to quit her job to be home with her daughters when schools closed due to the pandemic.
She manages three different school schedules, laptops, and household chores, so Myleshia loves meals that are already prepared. “With HIP’s meals I don’t have to be in the kitchen every few hours making food. I can focus on helping my kids learn and getting them through school, and I know they are eating well. It is a huge help.”
More Bella-B residents
Priscilla,12, shyly told HIP that her family likes the small milk cartons her family receives, because “it saves us money, we don’t have to buy the big cartons of milk.”
Marbi got his second job back after being furloughed. HIP gave him meals when he was out of work, and continues to help now that he has no time to cook. His advice? “The service is there. Take it. It’s amazing to have meals prepared, especially for busy families who have kids at home and don’t have time to cook.”
Linda accepts meals for several residents. One has a brain injury and another a disabled child. She exclaims, “What I like about HIP is that you’ve always been extremely respectful. This is a strong, proud community used to taking care of themselves, and some families are reluctant to ask for food, even though many have been devastated by unemployment. Door-to-door deliveries are more private, and more families are likely to request meals. The way you’re handling this is wonderful.”