Front Burner Blog

Can't See The Desert For The Trees

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When you hear the term “food desert”, you might think of the dense inner city neighborhoods of New York, Chicago, or Detroit. But the problem is closer to home than you think. Believe it or not, Renton is considered a “food desert”.

A food desert is an urban area that combines low-income residents, with poor access to fresh food. (more than a mile) The USDA measures these variables and maps out the trouble spots.

So what makes Renton a food desert? The city core has a high population of elderly residents, and over the years many local grocers have disappeared. Together, this makes it nearly impossible for residents to get fresh fruits and vegetables. Foods that most of us take for granted.  

But Food Lifeline has set up shop in Renton, and business is good! 

Since April of last year, the Food Lifeline Mobile Food Pantry program has been working with the Renton Housing Authority to provide fresh produce for dozens of seniors every month. Each senior takes home as much produce as they need - an average of 17 pounds of mixed fruits and vegetables. Everything from tomatoes to squash, to broccoli and fresh leaf lettuce. They’ve also received mangos, strawberries, avocados, eggplants, and many other delicious and healthy foods.

Since the program started, Food Lifeline's Mobile Food Pantry has delivered nearly 9,000 pounds of healthy, nutritious food to these grateful seniors.

According to the Renton Housing Authority's Mark Gropper, it's a win-win situation.

"The (Food Lifeline) Mobile Food Pantry at Evergreen Terrace has been a great opportunity for our residents, delivering fresh fruits and vegetables direct to their communities at no cost."

The Renton Housing Authority has now purchased residents red shopping carts to help them transport their groceries back to their units with ease.

Thank you to our Mobile Food Pantry sponsors: Nordstrom, Wells Fargo, and the Wiegand Family Foundation.

To learn more about Food Lifeline's Mobile Food Pantry, visit our website.

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