Packaging parties unpacked
By Rachel Tefft
This article was originally published in October 2019
In my first months at PCC I have had the opportunity to participate in eight packaging parties, each held at a different one of our 15 food bank partner locations. I had heard of these events in the past, as a shopper as well as a friend of the Rainier Valley Bank, but they held a sort of mystery for me. I am someone who gets a little nervous committing to attend an event when I don’t know what to expect. I have not gone to dance classes out of fear that I would show up in the wrong shoes, no matter how much I want to dance! If you resonate even a little with that sentiment, I am writing this to you.
The most important thing you need to know about these events is that they are fun and that you are welcome there—and needed!
The goal of these bimonthly events is to package thousands of pounds of bulk foods into bags that can easily be distributed to individuals and families.
Every PCC store has a partner food bank in its neighborhood and each packaging party is led by a staff member from that PCC store. Participating is a great way to learn more about the community you live in, meet some new people and do something that supports your local food bank. Each food bank orders from PCC six times a year, selecting from the same items that you will see in the store’s bulk section and choosing the options that best meet that community’s needs. A packaging party in one food bank may consist of kasha and mung beans, while another is scooping white rice and granola.
The common denominator in these events is the scooping! There is no skill set or strength requirement to join; we all work together to complete the task. Children above 10 are welcome when accompanied with a parent, and they tend to have the most fun out of all of us (imagine being an 11-year-old given a huge bag of flour and a scoop…). I have seen people at these events on first dates, coming alone to meet new people, celebrating birthdays, doing their volunteer time for school or getting together with colleagues after work. Our partner, Seattle Works, has made it very easy to learn more about the packaging party closest to you and to, most importantly, sign up. You can also visit our website to find which food bank is partnered with your favorite PCC.
This month, with the re-opening of the West Seattle store, I want to highlight our partners in West Seattle, Georgetown and Des Moines. These three organizations are doing incredible work in their communities, prioritizing healthy, fresh foods and grounding their work in the dignity and humanity of each and every person they work with. PCC is excited to support these organizations through our bulk donations as well as by helping to organize volunteers who can assist with tasks such as taking 50-pound bags of rice and turning them into convenient servings that will go out the door to hundreds of people the next day. That is where you come in!
Please join us at the Des Moines Area Food Bank on October 9, the West Seattle Food Bank on October 14 or at Chicken Soup Brigade in Georgetown on November 21. Sign up at seattleworks.org today!
Rachel Tefft is PCC’s community nutrition program manager.