Most folks around here are somewhat familiar with the little house on Alder Street that serves as the Sequim Food Bank. Some participate in food drives at our churches or community groups or buy an extra jar of peanut butter when our bank branch is collecting. Others harvest apples, dig potatoes or grow vegetables to donate. Many make financial contributions every month, without ever having been asked.
It is known that there are hungry people who visit the food bank, and hope there is enough to feed them. Maybe you or someone you know visited the food bank when hungry.
But not enough of us really know what a special place the Sequim Food Bank is. Since being hired as director my eyes and heart have opened to a shining example of our community’s generosity and compassion.
We are thrilled to report that our food bank always has been well-supported by the people of Sequim.
Those who contribute food and financial resources don’t seem to care much about publicity or recognition; they do care greatly about those in need. Our Sequim food stores – especially Walmart, QFC, Costco and Safeway – get into the act as well, donating food nearly every day.
This support is a good thing because the need is truly staggering. According to the most recent census, a full 13.5 percent of Clallam County residents live below the poverty line. Most volunteers and visitors to the food bank are overwhelmed the first time they see a lobby full of people and a line out the door on days we are open for distribution.
So far this year, community support has allowed the Sequim Food Bank to provide food to more than 1,700 different families. Typically, about a third of the food that leaves our doors is feeding a child under the age of 18. We distribute hundreds of thousands of pounds of food annually.
The community’s — your — support helped to feed the young couple that was so hungry they began eating fruit and bread right in the parking lot – filling up before riding their bicycles home. Your support helps to feed the disabled elderly woman who sometimes only gets meat protein twice per month – when her food bank delivery arrives.
Your generosity sends young mothers home with a sense of relief knowing their children will have something to eat, at least for a while.
Providing a sufficient quantity of healthy food is our priority and while much food is donated throughout the year, it still isn’t nearly enough to meet the need.
That is why the Sequim Food Bank purchases eggs, milk, oats, rice, legumes, pasta and more every single week using resources contributed by the community.
It takes a lot of resources to ensure that our hungry neighbors go home with enough quality ingredients to make a few meals.
Where the heart is
We couldn’t do what we do without financial support, but the heart of the Sequim Food Bank is its volunteers. More than one volunteer measures their tenure in decades, such as Cliff Vining who has been quietly stocking shelves and single-handedly putting together holiday boxes for well over 30 years.
Our Saturday crew of teen volunteers hasn’t been there for decades … yet … but they still have time.
A regular crew of adult volunteers serves clients with professionalism and good cheer, week-in and week-out. Board president Stephen Rosales’ compassion and hard work bring life to our Vision: No one goes hungry in Sequim.
We are all fortunate to have a vibrant and progressive organization like the Sequim Food Bank in our community. While we expect the future to hold increased need, the organization is evolving and growing to help meet it. The board of directors recently has adopted a new set of values that places additional emphasis on education, nutrition and increased engagement with other community service organizations.
Thanks to all those who help make possible this work and this place. Please know that you are making a very real difference in the lives of our friends and neighbors.
If you would like to donate food, the best times to drop it off are Monday, Friday or Saturday mornings between 8:30-11 a.m. We cannot distribute out-of-date or damaged food. If you would like to make a financial contribution, send it to: Sequim Food Bank, PO Box 1453.
If you would like to volunteer, or would like to learn more about the food bank, call us any time at 683-1205.
The Sequim Food Bank is at 144 W. Alder St. We are open every Monday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m.-noon.