The Thurston County Food Bank (TCFB), Community Kitchen, and Senior Services for South Sound are among 8 local organizations rescuing good food from agencies and to provide food for people in our community who are in need. The need can be especially serious in winter after the growing season is finished and nourishing meals are even more welcome.
Other organizations include the Rochester Organization for Families (ROOF) in Rochester, WA; Faith Harvest Helpers at True Grace Church in Lacey; The Source at Hidden Creek Church in West Olympia; The Lord’s Pantry at Turning Point Church in North Thurston County, and the Olympia Union Gospel Mission in downtown Olympia.
Phenomenal amounts of food…saved
Each year, the TCFB rescues a phenomenal amount of food! In 2018, they rescued over 2,200,000 pounds of food locally. Their restaurant rescue program, which accepts prepared food from restaurants and schools, has doubled in the last year – growing from 76,000 pounds of food in 2017 to 226,000 pounds of food in 2018. In 2018, the TCFB provided food to over 57,000 separate clients in need in our region. These clients visited the Food Bank on 380,000 occasions.
Turning saved food into thousands of meals!
The Community Kitchen serves 3 meals per day every single day, including holidays. In 2018, volunteers rescued over 111,000 pounds of food, that they turned into nearly 145,000 meals to serve to people in need. Over the past 3 years, the Community Kitchen has seen a 35% increase in the number of meals they provide – serving 40,000 more meals in 2018 than in 2017. Thanks to the TC food rescue, they were able to do this for no additional cost. The Community Kitchen puts the value of the food they rescued last year at $120,000 dollars.
Delivering meals to thousands of seniors!
South Sound Senior Services is a local nonprofit charged with providing community dining—lunches and Meals on Wheels (MOW) service to seniors living in Mason and Thurston Counties. In 2018, we rescued 120,000 pounds of food for use in senior meals. This allowed us to keep up with senior population growth and avoid a waiting list for the MOW program. Last year, we served a total of over 120,000 meals to 3000 seniors. Food rescue allows our program to serve more people in spite of our limited food budget. Casino food rescue contributes to another 2000 meals per month.
You be one of the phenomenal volunteers
More than 10,000 community members volunteer their time at the Thurston County Food Bank, both at the downtown Client Service Center (CSC) and at the Warehouse Distribution Center (WDC). Volunteers do everything from food sorting and delivery, to office support, to facility and equipment maintenance. The best way for individuals to start is to attend a Volunteer Orientation and Tour.
Those interested in volunteering can start by attending an orientation. These take place the first Tuesday of each month at 220 Thurston Ave NE in Olympia and the third Thursday each month at the Warehouse Distribution Center at 220 Mottman Road SW in Tumwater.
Thanks to Cathy Visser for providing the information in this summary.