Food banks throughout Washington have begun receiving additional supplies made possible by federal funds.
Under the federal American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, Washington's Emergency Food Assistance Program recently bought about $2 million worth of eggs, cheese and frozen turkey breast. More than 300,000 low-income children, adults, elderly and homeless citizens will receive the extra supplies along with other food that is distributed regularly.
The Department of General Administration manages the Emergency Food Assistance Program. The program contracts with 21 organizations in Washington, including Food Lifeline and Northwest Harvest in Seattle and Second Harvest Inland Northwest in Spokane, to distribute food to 450 food banks, shelters and meal providers on both sides of the state.
Food banks are experiencing a growing demand due to current economic conditions. Despite the extra food made available by Recovery Act funds, more help is needed through cash donations and volunteer work, said Gov. Chris Gregoire.
"Cash and a few hours a month of volunteer work go a long way toward helping our neighbors who are in great need," Gregoire said. "In January, I challenged every Washingtonian to give at least an hour a month to help those in need. It has been humbling to travel across the state and witness the work of volunteers, and meet the people who benefit. I encourage everyone to contact their local food bank to learn how they can help."
Food Lifeline serves a network of more than 300 food banks, meal programs and shelters throughout Western Washington, and financial donations and volunteers are crucial during these difficult economic times.
"Food bank lines are growing and many people are asking for help for the first time," said Jason Clark, executive director of Second Harvest Inland Northwest. "We need to keep pace with increased demand and the additional high-protein food from the Emergency Food Assistance Program will help us do that. These are important staples for the hungry families and seniors we serve."
Second Harvest leads the fight against hunger in the Inland Northwest, distributing more than 1 million pounds of donated food each month through its service area of 21 counties in Eastern Washington. Partnerships with neighborhood food banks and meal centers make it possible for Second Harvest to provide food to more than 48,000 hungry people each week.
Gov. Gregoire has created a new website, www.recovery.wa.gov, enabling every Washingtonian to see where their tax dollars are going and hold government accountable for the results.
General Administration food assistance programs: http://www.ga.wa.gov/Food/index.html
Food Lifeline: http://www.foodlifeline.org/
Second Harvest Inland Northwest: http://www.2-harvest.org/
Northwest Harvest: http://www.northwestharvest.org/
Additional contact details for Washington food banks: