Executive Director, Rainier Valley Food Bank
When the pandemic began, Rainier Valley Food Bank was forced to shutter their grocery store model. Because the space was so small, they couldn’t socially distance. They quickly pivoted to making weekly home deliveries to their clients. While the program is effective at delivering food, it left their clients feeling disconnected and isolated.
“A majority of the people we serve are seniors,” says Executive Director Gloria Hatcher-Mays, “now they have to stay at home, and we can’t keep an eye on them.”
Food Lifeline joined with Rainier Beach Community Center and the Rainier Valley Food Bank to host weekly community distributions. These drive-thru events provide a safe way to get people food during the pandemic.
“With community distributions every week, we can make sure they have a touchpoint, and they feel less alone…we see them on a regular basis, and we make sure they’re getting enough food, and staying healthy.”
Visitors to the distribution represent all parts and all ages of the community.
“We just love that our clients can find us here… these are our friends and family, and we miss them like family. It’s nice to be in community with them again. To let them know we’re still here for them. It’s just been terrific.”
A wise person once reflected, “if you just meet someone, you’ll want to feed them,” Hatcher-Mays agrees.
“It’s about building community. That’s how we will change this. The more we get to know each other, the more we will care for each other.”
Every week, as the line wraps around the block, it’s more than delivering food. It’s an event that is bringing this neighborhood together. With food, and with friendship.