During the 1970’s, the demand for food was increasing dramatically in Seattle and King County as a result of a downturn in the economy. In response, the federal government began making food commodities—bulk quantities of basic food products—available across the U.S. At the time, Washington state lacked a central warehouse to accept, store, and distribute this food to area food banks that directly served people experiencing hunger.
That’s when elected officials, corporate leaders, and a few North Seattle food banks formed Food Lifeline – a pilot program for “hunger management.” Originally called the Food Oversight Operation Distribution (F.O.O.D.), this consortium was officially incorporated as a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) corporation in 1979. In 1982, F.O.O.D. joined the nation’s largest domestic anti-hunger organization—Second Harvest (now Feeding America). And in 1986, we changed our name to Food Lifeline!
Now 40 years in and this pilot has long since taken flight! Food Lifeline has grown steadily, from distributing 2.5 million pounds of food to 54 King County agencies in 1981 to distributing 51 million pounds of food to 300 food banks, shelters, and meal programs across 17 counties.
While Food Lifeline is able to distribute the equivalent of 116,000 meals every day, we’re seeing that food inequality isn’t going away. That’s why we’ve evolved over time to not only feed hungry folks today, but to also solve hunger for the long-term by addressing its root causes. By partnering with legislative champions and community leaders, we’re exploring what we can accomplish together to create equitable systems that ensure everyone has access to food every day.
Thank you for all of your support in helping Food Lifeline to address hunger these past 40 years. None of this work would be possible without donors, volunteers, and advocates like you!