At the end of June, our Public Policy team paid a visit to some of our partner food banks in Pierce County. Taking the day to explore, we visited the Sumner Community Food Bank, the Eatonville Family Agency, SE Tacoma FISH, and St. Leo’s Food Connection in Tacoma. We also had a few special visitors stop by some of the food banks with us!
Our first stop was the Sumner Community Food Bank, where we were joined by Rosa McLeod from Senator Cantwell’s office. Anita Miller, the food bank’s Executive Director, gave the three of us a tour of the food bank, where we discussed how the food bank distributes food and the different programs they run, including a backpack program. We had informative conversation with Anita about the growing homeless population in the Sumner area and how community organizations, including the food bank, are working together to try to provide services for this vulnerable population.
Rosa continued on with us to our next stop, the Eatonville Family Agency. We had another special visitor join us here – State Senator Rani Becker, who lives up the street! We spent over an hour walking through the various parts of the building with Executive Director Alana Smith. Later in the tour, we were joined by Jennifer Vasquez, a staff member, and the six of us discussed the many programs the agency hosts in addition to the food bank, including a clothing bank, senior meals, and a backpack program, among many others. We are also really excited that the Eatonville Family Agency is one of Food Lifeline’s Kids Cafe site this summer. Read more about our summer meal sites here.
We headed next to Tacoma, where we visited two sties before wrapping up the day. At the first site, SE Tacoma/FISH, we were joined by Kierra Phifer from Senator Patty Murray’s office. Jim Beaudoin, the SE Tacoma FISH Coordinator and Sue Potter, the Executive Director of FISH Food Banks of Pierce County, gave us a tour of the facility and explained how great the grocery store model has worked for them and their clients. The five of us then sat down and talked for a while about a number of things, including the programs and services FISH offers to clients around the county, areas of growth, and future plans for FISH and their food banks.
Our very last visit took us to the heart of Tacoma, where we stopped in to see the folks at St. Leo’s Food Connection and their new space. Though we arrived in the middle of both a massive move effort and food distribution, Rene Ried, the Operations Assistant, was gracious enough to give us a full tour of the new and old space so we could see the differences. We are looking forward to returning within the next couple of months to see them once they are settled in to their amazing new space!
Over the next several months, the Public Policy team plans to continue our county-wide food bank tours. If you are interested in having us come by for a visit please contact Katharine Ryan at KatharineR@FoodLifeline.org.