In 2020, 60 million people turned to food banks in the United States. More than one million of them live in the state of Washington. Struggling to put food on the table for individuals and families has increased at an alarming rate due to the pandemic, and in 2020, more than one in ten US households were food insecure at some point during the year.
To be food insecure means being uncertain of having or unable to acquire enough food to meet needs. Not knowing where and when the next meal is coming is a reality for many.
“There is no specific area of poverty in Lake Stevens,” says Stephanie McMillen Sherry, Director at Lake Stevens Community Food Bank. “In Lake Stevens, food insecurity is hidden. It is often families who are in a temporary financial crisis.”
Snohomish County is growing at an explosive rate, with a population increase of more than 100,000 people in the last 10 years. The community of Lake Stevens is no exception, with a population increase of almost 25 percent since 2010. But with this growth comes some challenges that may not always be visible.
In this quickly growing community, the need to address hunger is a priority for organizations like the Lake Stevens Community Food Bank who serve approximately 1,200 families, or 3,000 individuals, per month.
The Food Bank partners with more than 100 volunteers to serve the community. The staff and volunteers procure, sort, store and distribute fresh and non-perishable food to families in partnership with four community churches.
“We have some of the worse conditions of any food bank in the county, but we are changing that,” says McMillen Sherry. “Our new building will host more than just the food bank and become a hub for our community. It will provide stability and teach sustainability.”
The Food Bank is well into the New Building Fundraising campaign but still has a way to go.
Building on their mission of providing a nutrition safety net for those in need, the new food bank building will help expand their space so they can store and process incoming food and service comfortably from one location. With careful planning and collaboration, the building will host medical services, office space, a teaching kitchen, training services, an information centre, free clinics, and much-needed social services.
“Our goal is to nourish and empower, to build a community that is strong and sustainable for tomorrow,” says McMillen Sherry.
For more information on the Lake Stevens Community Food Bank and how you can make a difference in your community, visit: https://lakestevensfoodbank.org/?page_id=2427.
To donate, visit: https://lakestevensfoodbank.org/?page_id=2430.