SEATTLE – The Rainier Valley Food Bank hands out food to people in Seattle every week. Volunteer Coordinator Ryan Cooper is seeing more people come through and says it’s getting tougher to meet demand.
“We have to balance the amount that we’re able to serve with the amount that it costs,” Cooper said.
The Rainier Valley Food Bank isn’t getting as much food donated this year. Its organizers have had to find other ways to get what they need.
“We have volunteers that go out with our vans and picking up produce that’s not selling,” Cooper said. “Basically, things that are coming off the shelf, and they still have a little life in them.”
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Northwest Harvest has sent supplies to food banks all around Washington state. It’s working hard to complete orders.
“We are increasing the amount of bulk food that we buy,” said Northwest Harvest CEO Thomas Reynolds. “We are increasing the number of volunteers we’re working with. We are increasing our transportation budgets and our food budgets because the need for food is so significant right now.”
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Reynolds said he didn’t know how long they could keep up. “I have some concerns about getting the resources we need at prices that we can afford.”
Nationwide, food bank donations are down 20% from last year.
“With all of the chronic disruptions in the food supply chain and the high price of fuel and labor associated with transporting donated food, we have seen a serious decline,” said Feeding America Chief Government Relations Officer Vince Hall.
Northwest Harvest has vowed to supply what they can, so that food banks could keep feeding families.
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“We’re going to do more food drives,” Reynolds said. “We’re going to work more with groceries and other companies that have food that’s available.
“We’re just really scrambling to find food wherever we can get it.”