EVERETT, Wash. - An effort is underway to take groceries out of the warehouse and deliver them to neighborhoods that need them the most. There’s also a push to expand the number of locations for these “pop up food banks.”
Every Tuesday, Carmen Reese is on hand at Bible Baptist Church to pass out groceries to some of south Everett's neediest residents. The space is on loan for a few hours to Volunteers of America Western Washington, which trucks in food for people who can't easily travel to the main warehouse.
“Our church lets the VOA have this room once a week to have the pop up food bank,” Reese said.
Many of the clients who showed up this past Tuesday said the pop up food bank makes all the difference for their families.
“It helps a lot so I don't have to worry about where our next meal is going to come from,” said Rita Fahie, who was shopping for her children and her grandchildren.
VOA Western Washington runs three pop up food banks in the Everett area. Now the agency is trying to open more locations so families aren't forced to travel to the big distribution hubs.
“We're coming to the clients instead of the clients coming to us,” said Leann Christensen, who runs hunger prevention services for VOA Western Washington.
While the need for pop up food banks is clearly there, one of the main challenges is a lack of volunteers to staff the sites. Currently the VOA is partnered with local churches, but Christensen said the agency is open to working with “anybody and everybody” to bring pop up food banks to the neighborhoods that need them the most.
Talks are underway with Everett Community College to possibly establish a pop up food bank on that campus. However, what's critically needed are volunteers.