Seattle Basket Brigade


It is with great sadness that the Seattle Basket Brigade WILL NOT OCCUR in 2016.  Over the last 10 years hundreds of amazing volunteers have come together the weekend before Thanksgiving to assemble baskets of food, wrap turkeys, share stories, and deliver these baskets to around 10,000 – 15000 people over the last 10 years !

2016 – Gig Harbor Basket Brigade – needs help

Can donate online or send 
check to –
Basket Brigade c/o David Cathers

5500 Olympic Drive, Suite H105, PMB 217
Gig Harbor, WA 98335

When Tony Robbins set up the Basket Brigade 30 years ago,  the legacy intended that many people would EACH share their part in the experience – donating or providing baskets of food as well as HELPING TO DELIVER the food to needy individuals and families. In Seattle we have experienced that the (vast) majority of people have not been willing to donate or provide food, necessitating a few “corporate donations to really support the event. (This is not to diminish many people who came forward and donated and provided – often when money and time was not easily parted with).  In Seattle, its been a real struggle to get people to be willing to deliver the baskets / turkeys, the main point of the Basket Brigade.  Most do not realize that last year even though we attempted to confirm ahead of time – that 30% of the drivers and 50% of the vehicle loading them did not even show at last minute. This creates undue stress for the leaders involved but to everyone else at the event that is not aware it appears as chaos and disorganization.

Each year a few of us have been asking for help to plan the Seattle Basket Brigade and only a few have been willing to participate and help out until the last few weeks after most of the planning is accomplished. In the last few weeks, there is still a lot to do, but the 2 months of stress to carry off the event is overwhelming.

Personally this has been one of the more rewarding experiences of my life. I’ve been fortunate to witness many people getting involved with volunteering, often for the first time, seeing the huge number of kids and young adults be exposed to something bigger than themselves and what its like to serve others, seeing the community support this event – amazing restaurants that provided food for the volunteers, food and retail stores willing to donate goods and services to the event because of what it stands for, and most importantly seeing the people in need getting to experience Thanksgiving, a special day of Thanks in a way that their would not have been able without the support of the Seattle Basket Brigade.

Deep down, I would like to see this event continue at some point in the future. The needs are there, and unfortunately the financial diversity of our community is getting wider. This letter is not only to announce the completion of my leadership but a call for action for others to step up and continue the Seattle Basket Brigade going forward. A few people over the last few years have offered to step up, not realizing the magnitude necessary to coordinate an event this size. Maybe this “food drive” needs a different direction, as the affiliation with Tony Robbins and the International Basket Brigade are not necessary, it was the impetus for how I set the event up and moved it forward over these last 10 years.

I welcome and encourage anyone to step up to move this incredible and needed community event forward. Sometimes stepping outside ones self will transform one’s life, one of the main leadership skill that Tony Robbins (and others) teaches. Please do not hesitate to contact me to explore this leadership opportunity for yourself, but if you’re really serious know ahead it takes a VOLUMN of time, and commitment during late Sept – Thanksgiving.
Thank you for all your support over the past 10 years, it has been an honor and privilege to witness the generosity of others and be involved in this incredible community event.

Les Berenson MD
206 290-0409


Video summary of the 2013 Seattle Basket Brigade (Click link)

Amazing video by Brenda Asterino & assistance by Luke Papineau
showing the impact, energy & spirit of 300 wonderful heartfelt volunteers
in our community. (Please “LIKE” & share this video with others (Facebook, etc)

Blessings from the Seattle Basket Brigade
by North Helpline Food bank Nov. 2015


Note (11-6-15)
Volunteer registration CLOSED 2 weeks early with a record 350 volunteers !
We will assemble and deliver 550 baskets and
feed approximately 2500-3000 people in the greater Seattle area !

If you want be included on our email list for future involvement
see the link BELOW ( and next year register early).

Click here to see the details and get involved (or donate)
in 2015 Seattle Basket Brigade

We are increasing our support from 300 baskets / turkeys to 550 in 2015


Videos and pictures of 2014 Seattle Basket Brigade

Donation Stories (Click here)
4 individuals and their families raised money in unique ways. Times are harder for all of us.
Even without any money here are ideas YOU and anyone can use
to raise money to help others in need.

Seattle Basket Brigade event (2014 pictures)

Volunteer Party – pictures 

Amiga Debbie did a wonderful pictorial video of our 2014 Basket Brigade

At Large in Ballard: Ahead of the Trot – By Peggy Sturdivant
Ballard News Tribune  –  11/10/2014

PRESS about the Seattle Basket Brigade


11-2015  – Blessings from the Seattle Basket Brigade
by Madeline Jarvis (North Helpline Food Bank)


11/10/2014 – At Large in Ballard: Ahead of the Trot
By Peggy Sturdivant  Ballard News Tribune  –  11/10/2014

(Nov. 10th, 2013) – 
Interview by Dayna Mink-Coats
(‘Kids Care’ radio show host – Radio Disney Seattle) 
with coordinator Les Berenson MD 

History, background, vision, teen involvement of the Seattle Basket Brigade
(Takes a few minutes to download)


When a community comes together to make a difference – MAGIC HAPPENS!
|Our mission is to bring the community together to feed families in need for Thanksgiving.

In 2015 volunteers from all over WA. state will come together to assemble >500 baskets with turkeys – then delivered them to people in need, feeding approximately 2500 people in the Greater Seattle / Puget Sound area.

Many of our recipients were families utilizing huge food banks serving many needy people in the north and south greater seattle area so pressure was taken off rthe food banks in this time of need:

Food banks and recipients Seattle Basket Brigade will serve in 2015
A) University Food Bank
 (No. Seattle)
B) North Help Line Food Bank (Lake City Way area)
C) Solid Ground’s Santos Place transitional housing for single women
D) Daybreak Star Preschool
E) North Seattle Family Resource Center
F) Concord International Elementary School
and MANY other individual families throughout the area

We have a great volunteer party great music,  wonderful friends,
and Incredible food from some of the best Seattle restaurants –
Thai, Indian, Greek food and great Pizza., and a smoked organic turkey.
Make sure you plan to come to the Volunteer party in 2015 !

TEEN PROGRAM – The Seattle Basket Brigade is
an amazing experience to share with your family and kids.
Kids helping out can get COMMUNITY SERVICE HOURS.


Yes, if you would like to support the Basket Brigade and
cannot join us the day of, you are more than welcome to donate.
We need as many donations this year to get our 500 baskets.
You can also make a financial donation by clicking the link below and
we will purchase the food for you. Every penny counts and we appreciate it.Do you have contacts (friends or companies) that may be willing to donate,
or can ask their employees to get involved donating & volunteering.


Thanksgiving Basket Brigade is where a group of local individuals and volunteers come together in the spirit of contribution and help hundreds of families in and around the greater Seattle area to have the blessing of a Thanksgiving meal.Each person can donate towards our basket brigade.
~ $40 provides a turkey and large basket of food lasting family 2-3 days.
We buy the food and then on the Sat. before Thanksgiving we gather to create beautiful Thanksgiving Baskets for families in need in our community.After the baskets are packed up we pair up with friends, family members, and new acquaintances and drive out to deliver the baskets to the families ourselves.
Families include those who are in need, families who may have illnesses, lost parents, lost jobs, senior citizens, women and children who are starting over after leaving abusive relationships, and more. Most of us do not tell the families that the food is from us, instead that we are delivery people (Instructions are given to the drivers).