Wash. food banks seeking more volunteers through the holidays

Nov 18, 2023, 8:52 AM | Updated: 10:47 am

In response to food banks facing a significant shortage of donations and volunteers within Washington state, Bonneville Seattle has joined the “Back to Action” campaign — a drive to bring in more volunteers this holiday season.

Bonneville Seattle employees recently spent a day at the White Center Food Bank in support of the volunteer drive.

The White Center Food Bank has existed since the 1970s, first starting as an emergency response to assist struggling families and individuals in the region.

“People don’t think about the importance of a food bank till they need the support of one, but food is a right, and White Center Food Bank’s goal is to ensure that people don’t just have the food they need, but also food they like,” said Heather Crandall, Volunteer Manager of the White Center Food Bank.

A record number of customers have been utilizing the White Center Food Bank this year. The Food Bank will be moving to a larger space on 16th Avenue Southwest in early 2024 to accommodate the growing need within the community.

“In our new location, we will now be easier to see, and hope that we are able to support even more families who need a little extra help, or a lot of extra help in making ends meet. And that means the need for community-minded individuals to support their neighbors will also increase.”

KIRO Newsradio’s Aaron Granillo said the volunteer experience was rewarding, especially ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

“It’s humbling, rewarding, and also eye-opening,” explained Granillo. “The experience makes you realize just how critical these food banks are, and how many people rely on them. The need is even greater around the holidays, when nobody in our community should go hungry.”

Under the “Back To Action” campaign, Bonneville Seattle, Northwest Harvest, Safeway, Washington Food Coalition, Vault89 Strategies, the Seattle Seahawks, and KING 5 have banded together to support the vital work of food banks throughout the state of Washington by spreading the word to bring volunteers back to help in this crucial effort.

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“The ongoing effects of the pandemic have created a crisis of food insecurity across the state,” Josette Gonzales, a volunteer program manager at Northwest Harvest, said. “While the need for food remains high, we are struggling to find volunteers to help distribute the food. We can supply enough food, but it will go to waste without the critical volunteer help we depend on to get it into the hands of those who need it most.”

The drive runs through Dec. 31 with the goal of signing up at least 3,000 food bank volunteers for Hunger Resource Organizations across the state.

“This is a state with a tradition of community involvement, and I’m thrilled that organizations, private companies, and our iconic NFL team have joined with us to alert people to the need for volunteers,” Gonzales continued. “With their help and the help of our communities around the state, we can end this volunteer shortage and work to end food insecurity.”

“We all have a role to play in making our communities stronger and healthier,” Seahawks legend and Vault89 CEO Doug Baldwin said. “So many in the region came together to support our Super Bowl Championship team and now we are asking everyone to come together again to support those who have always been there for our communities – local food banks.”

More on food banks in WA: Doug Baldwin looks to foster ‘connected community’ with food bank volunteers

Baldwin, a longtime community advocate for Seattle, and Vault89 have partnered with Back To Action to help increase the number of volunteers.

Sign up to volunteer at your local food bank to support the Back To Action campaign.

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Wash. food banks seeking more volunteers through the holidays