On Feb. 23, the Rainier Valley Food Bank (RVFB) held its first open house at its new South Seattle location on 9021 Rainier Avenue South. Motivated by a growing need to increase its capacity and programming capabilities, RVFB purchased the property from Bonney Watson last year. The site is over 8,000 square feet, significantly larger than their previous site, which was about 1,200 square feet. RVFB has served the South End community since 1991 and was originally founded as Northwest Community Services before changing its name in 2008. RVFB’s previous location, which it had occupied for over 25 years, was located at 4205 Rainier Ave. S. The food bank was able to acquire and renovate their new building through corporate, State, City, and private donors, which included United Way of King County and the City’s Human Services Department.
After the pandemic vastly increased demand for food and other services, the Rainier Valley Food Bank announced, today, that it is acquiring a new building in South Seattle in order to expand it’s programming and better meet existing needs.
All 12 of the virtual concerts have been published, but there is still time to donate food and money to the campaign that is helping people access meaningful resources while also creating a platform for local musical artists.
People who want to donate food through the campaign have until the end of the day on Sunday, April 4, to drop food off at any of the partnering businesses, such as The Reef Cannabis, The Bakeréé, and Clutch Cannabis.
As the food-centric holidays of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Day approach, many Seattlietes are confronted with maintaining financial and food security amid the new lockdown and further deliberations over future federal aid.
Various food banks in South Seattle have seen an increased need for food in the community from the beginning of the pandemic response in the spring. As happens every year around this time, this need has become even greater in preparation for the holidays.
It’s sunny, and beginning to get warm on an afternoon in early May, when people start to line up outside the White Center Food Bank. Clad in masks, they patiently wait an adequate distance from each other to choose food the National Guard is helping food bank workers distribute.
This outdoor model is the latest iteration of food service the food bank has tried, Associate Executive Director Carmen Smith said. So far, it’s also the most successful, she said. Usually, the food bank operates in a grocery store model, which allows patrons the freedom to choose their own items, and mitigate the stigma associated with needing to use a food bank. But once the novel coronavirus pandemic hit the state, Smith and her fellow food bank employees found that the inside of the food bank was just too small to allow for safe social distancing practices. Having volunteers shop for the patrons’ food was also a no-go, because it’s just too hard to shop for someone else, Smith said.
With the city’s farmers markets having been shuttered for weeks and only recently beginning to reopen, some regional farmers have been stuck with produce they can’t sell. Now a collaboration between local businesses, farmers markets and food banks is working to redirect those fruits and vegetables to hungry communities across the Seattle area.
It’s an effort to respond on the fly to uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic and ensure food banks have what they need during the coming months. It also keeps much-needed income flowing to the Northwest’s small farms.
Despite Washington State being the original epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the United States, the state has not released detailed demographic data around infections and deaths from COVID-19, lagging behind several states and counties throughout the country. King County released detailed demographic data around infections and deaths from COVID-19 on April 10, but the data is only from 51 percent of confirmed cases.
The King County data available shows that cases of the disease are highest among non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders, but that deaths are highest among white people. This available data is not consistent with what other areas of the U.S. are reporting –– that Black communities are at a disproportionately higher risk of death from the disease –– or with what some local critical care providers are seeing on the frontlines.
Fridays are typically bustling at the Rainier Valley Food Book (RVFB). The final day of most people’s work weeks is just the beginning for Food Bank workers who hustle to unload and stock just delivered produce and toiletries.Continue reading Food Bank Benefits From Day of Caring→
by Martha Baskin (this story originally appeared in Crosscut)
Take an easy stroll down Rainier Avenue just past Letitia and, depending on the hour, you’ll hear the sounds of Big Band music, hip-hop, reggae or even European classical wafting from a store front. Pause and you’ll hear laughter and animated chatter. The sounds aren’t from a trendy restaurant or club. Something different is happening here. Teens and adult volunteers are unloading boxes of a critical treasure that’s in surprisingly short supply for a city that prides itself on being progressive: food. This is the Rainier Valley Food Bank, a high-octane food distribution center whose mission is to provide healthy food for hungry neighbors. Continue reading How Seattle is Feeding the Hungry This Winter→
Amplifying the Authentic Narratives of South Seattle