As we wind down community distributions of emergency food brought about by the pandemic at North Seattle Community College and Rainier Beach Community Center, we want to thank all our volunteers who participated for their tireless efforts. We welcomed 769 volunteers at these locations covering 1,945 volunteer shifts. With their support, Food Lifeline along with our donors provided 53,116 families facing hunger 3.68 million pounds of fresh produce, nutritious dairy, proteins, and shelf-stable food. That’s the equivalent of 2,944,000 meals. Combined with community distributions provided earlier in the pandemic, we have served 84,774 families 5.73 million pounds of food to date as part of our Covid-19 efforts. In total, neighbors throughout western Washington has accessed the equivalent of more than 4.5 million meals through the community distribution program alone. This impact will continue to grow as weekly distributions go forward at our Hunger Solutions Center on Fridays through June.
Since the pandemic began, the number of people facing hunger in our state doubled, with 40% of clients visiting food banks for the first time. These emergency distributions helped us meet the increased need for nutritious food, while reducing barriers to access for those impacted in a safe and socially distanced environment. While we join our community’s collective relief as COVID-19 case counts decline, and businesses and schools begin to re-open, we must balance that relief with the knowledge that recovery from the pandemic will be years in the making. This is especially true for Black, Indigenous, migrant and refugee communities who were disproportionally impacted by the crisis.
Government sponsored relief packages, providing emergency state and federal grants and funding for NGO hunger relief programs have expired. This requires Food Lifeline to refocus our efforts toward investing in sustainable programs and support through our growing network of food pantries, meal programs and shelters – adding 56 new partners, geographically dispersed with a focus on underserved communities during the pandemic alone. Food Lifeline’s commitment to ending hunger never wavers.
If you have been affected by the closure of our emergency food distributions, click here to find a food pantry near you.
For Food Support offered by City of Seattle, King County, Washington State, federal, and community programs, visit seattle.gov/mayor/covid-19#foodsupport
For King County Emergency Food Access Services, visit kingcounty.gov/covid/emergency-food
For more help, dial 2-1-1 on your phone.