Bellingham Food Bank Increases Access with Summer Hours
Beginning May 29, anyone living in Bellingham will have increased access to hunger relief at Bellingham Food Bank with the introduction of Summer Hours.
Monday and Friday distributions will open at 10 AM instead of 11:30 AM, adding 3 hours each week of time for families to get the dairy, eggs, milk, bread, frozen protein, fresh produce and nonperishable goods that they need. In addition, families will be able to visit the food bank up to two times per week instead of just one.
According to Mike Cohen, Executive Director of Bellingham Food Bank, this change is crucial as the summer begins. “We know that hunger doesn’t take a vacation in summer. When school is out, low-income families lose access to valuable free breakfast and lunch provided by Bellingham schools. In an effort to ease that burden we are excited to welcome families to come to the food bank twice a week and offer extended hours beginning May 29.”
While Summer Hours are currently slated through August 31, a successful summer pilot could mean the continuation of extended hours and increased access. “We look forward to gathering feedback, from both current and prospective families that we serve, to continue to provide the best service possible to our community.”
Small farms make big impact on food bank
This growing season has been busy for the Bellingham Food Bank, thanks in large part to local farmers and individual growers who donated produce as part of one of three programs operated by the Food Bank. This year the programs—Victory Gardens, Small Potatoes Gleaning Project, and Food Bank Fresh—accounted for a whopping 300,000 pounds of local, fresh, and high-quality produce that the Food Bank was able to give residents in need.
Students grow, harvest food for Bellingham Food Bank
All summer long, students at the Associated Students Outback Farm have been harvesting vegetables at the farm and delivering them by bicycle to the Bellingham Food Bank.
Students are boxing and delivering 134 pounds of leafy greens and root crops. So far this summer, the students have donated 496 pounds of vegetables to feed those in need.
The Outback Farm, located between Fairhaven College and Buchanan Towers on the Western Washington University campus, is run by the Associated Students and Fairhaven Colelge; it helps students learn to raise and harvest crops, raise chickens and farm bees, among other things. An outdoor amphitheater in the farm is used for educational and entertainment events.
Whatcom County Executive Works to Stop Hunger
Whatcom County recently applied for a $750,000 Community Development Block Grant on behalf of the Bellingham Food Bank to help expand their warehouse, supporting their role as a regional distributor of Food Lifeline. Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws played a key role in supporting and facilitating the application: “Whatcom County plays a vital role in many community activities including senior services, mental and physical health programs, youth addiction prevention programs, and a host of housing programs for our citizens. That’s why it was appropriate for the County to support the grant for the expansion of the Food Bank, which distributes goods through the county and region,” Louws said.
19th Annual Food Drive Spreads the ‘People Helping People’ Philosophy Across Washington’s Whatcom County
In a county where the unemployment rate tops nine percent and 44 percent of the people using community food banks come from working families, it would be awfully easy to become disillusioned and lose faith in the idea of “people helping people.”
But then you watch school district employees and families collect 10,000 pounds of food for their neighbors. You watch children donate as much food as they can carry in their backpacks to a nearby collection station. You watch hundreds of people brave high winds and heavy rain to raise more than $5,000 at a Food Truck Roundup.
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