Ocean Shores is known as a relaxing vacation spot, famous for its sand and its surf. But even this peaceful seaside town has a hunger problem.
“We have a lot of senior population here in Ocean Shores and people that are living on fixed incomes,” says executive director Sandy Harley. “They’re struggling to make ends meet”.
But every week, the Ocean Shores Food Bank receives food from their local Safeway store—a partnership created and managed by Food Lifeline. Today, the food bank is offering its neighbors fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, and broccoli—all nutritious food donated by Safeway.
Safeway is just one of 14 grocery store chains and 400 individual stores that donate food to Food Lifeline and its food bank and meal program partners.
“We’ve been feeding people for nearly 40 years”, says Food Lifeline president and CEO, Linda Nageotte. “The grocery stores have been with us from the start.”
Last year our partner grocery stores donated nearly 30 million pounds of produce, bread, dairy, and other packaged items. That’s the equivalent of 25 million meals.
“It’s an incredible amount of food,” says Food Lifeline’s director of agency relations, Josh Martinez. “It makes up more than two-thirds of the food we source every year.”
Last year, these grocery stores also donated nearly $600,000 through in-store promotions and corporate giving.
For this year’s Holiday Meals Campaign, Fred Meyer, QFC, and Whole Foods alone will help create more than 2 million meals for our hungry neighbors.
This giving also has a powerful, secondary effect.
“Giving from our corporate partners also opens the door for grant and foundation giving,” says Nate Pedigo, senior officer, corporate and foundation relations, for Food Lifeline.
“When our partners see such a high level of participation from these grocery stores, they are encouraged to invest in our programs, and that feeds more people.”
Donations coming in from grocery stores to Food Lifeline continue to grow every month, but what matters the most are those that will eat today.
77-year-old Christa Bergdorfer is taking home a bag of fresh produce today, food she received from Safeway through the Ocean Shores Food Bank. She sets her bag down for a moment to catch her breath, and to share something with us.
“The businesses, what they donate, it’s amazing. What they do…the generosity. I think about that all the time.”
Food Lifeline’s Grocery Store Partners