NEWS BRIEF: How You Can Support Local Food Banks This Season
December 7, 2020
At this time of the year, many in the Puget Sound area are looking for ways to give back to the community. And now more than ever, neighborhood food banks need our support. PCC is kicking off its annual Holiday Drive to support the PCC Food Bank Program that has been making a difference in the local community for over 30 years. One hundred percent of all the funds donated to the PCC Food Bank Program go directly to support 17 local food bank partners throughout the year. You can support these efforts by giving here.
Food banks continue to face extreme operating challenges while the number of people who rely on them grows. In this moment of collective challenge, PCC is committed to remaining as flexible and nimble as possible to support the co-op’s partners in the emergency food system. Whether that is working directly with local farms or in collaboration with distributors, PCC’s Food Bank Program puts healthy food on tables around the Puget Sound region.
Below is just one example of how the PCC Food Bank Program supported its community this year:
LOCAL IMPACT: This year, when our area food banks were hit hard due to the pandemic, PCC donated $112,000 from the shopper-funded Food Bank Fund to help establish a CSA-type model with Seattle’s Neighborhood Farmers Markets and Harvest Against Hunger that connects local farms and food banks. Our emergency food system was facing a shortage of fresh produce, while our local farmers had lost the majority – if not all – of their outlets. PCC worked to connect farms and food banks.
FARM-TO-FOOD BANK IN ACTION: Farm owners, Manny and Michelle Canales are organic farmers devoted to growing asparagus, berries, and grapes. The main outlets for their produce – farmers markets and stores – were closed in March. At the time, they had thousands of pounds of asparagus that would soon need to be harvested by hand. Without a sales outlet, Manny was considering letting the crop go for the season rather than paying staff to harvest.
The farm-to-food bank model created with the PCC Food Bank funding came at the right time to help connect Canales Organic Produce with multiple food banks in the area: Ballard Food Bank, Byrd Barr Place Food Bank, Issaquah Food Bank, North Helpline Bitterlake, Westgate Chapel and West Seattle Food Bank. Without the contracts created with the food banks, there would not have been a market for the crop, halting the farm’s financial engine.
MODEL FOR GOOD: The model that was created between PCC, Seattle’s Neighborhood Farmers Markets and Harvest Against Hunger showed the benefits this type of program creates. Because of this program as a proof point, King County contributed $300,000 worth of federal CARES funding into the farm to food bank system.