Last week, members of the Food Lifeline team were welcomed by the Maple Valley Food Bank so we could learn more about their operations and their community. We had the opportunity to join in on their morning meeting and talk with their team of volunteers as they prepared the food bank for the day.
“Part of what we pride ourselves on is choice, dignity, and access to the things that families actually want” said Executive Director Lindsey Habenicht. Their team was working hard to fill their shelves with highly desirable foods, and were open about their efforts to dedicate fundraising efforts to specific items that are difficult to source. Right now they are asking for help to fill their dairy deficit, as increased inflation is threatening their commitment to provide fresh dairy products to all their clients.
Beyond food, their team was already preparing for the upcoming school year. As we were touring their facilities, we came across a large room full of backpacks, binders, and other school supplies that were ready for distribution for their upcoming back to school fair.
Once the food bank opened, several clients shared their stories and the important role the food bank plays in their lives, including Madivie Ambieny, a single mother from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “Food is so important to me…especially as a single mother who is trying to provide for a teenage daughter” says Madivie. “My rule of thumb is this: my daughter will always eat before I eat. In my home country, you could go all day and not eat. It was especially difficult to feed ourselves back home; we never had the opportunity to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You always had to choose one. Some days you could go 12 hours without eating…we didn’t have cars or anything and, in some cases, you would be forced to walk 10 miles just to access food… I never want my daughter to go through what I went through growing up. My main job is to provide for her, so having access to food is extremely important and something that I value deeply.”
We have been lucky to grow our relationship with the Maple Valley Food Bank this summer. When a truck shared by Maple Valley and the rest of the South King County Food Coalition broke down, Food Lifeline began sending down one of our food delivery trucks to support every Thursday. “One morning our truck went kaput, and we had a moment of panic. However, we made one quick call to Food Lifeline and it didn’t even take a second thought. They were here the very next morning on-site with us, and they were so gracious and so willing to help.” says Lindsey.
This has only strengthened our belief that to Root Out Hunger, we must stay committed to lifting up our neighbors. Your support helps us lift up programs like the Maple Valley Food Bank, and onboard new agency partners that prioritize traditionally oppressed communities.