Food bank fund launches as demand skyrockets, supplies dwindle

Food bank fund launches as demand skyrockets, supplies dwindle
EDGEWOOD, WA - APRIL 4: Staff Sergeant Tyler Backus from the Washington Air National Guard helps distribute food with volunteers at the Nourish Pierce County food bank set up at the Mountain View Lutheran Church on April 4, 2020 in Edgewood, Washington. Members of the Washington National Guard have begun helping out at food banks across the state to assist with food distribution during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Guard personnel fill a critical staffing shortage at a time when the need for food is increasing. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images) (Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

OLYMPIA, Wash. — With many people losing their jobs or being laid off during the coronavirus pandemic, more and more are depending on local food banks to help make ends meet.

Supplies are at dangerously low levels, and Governor Jay Inslee’s office said demand is expected to double this week to 1.6 million.

So Inslee joined key nonprofits and local charities to launch a statewide food relief fund that will help reach those in need across Washington.

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“By coming together and contributing to this fund, we can meet this demand across the state and help our neighbors and their families put a meal on the table,” said Inslee.

The WA Food Fund will be funded by a combination of business and philanthropic dollars as well by as individual fundraising.

“We call on all those who are able to contribute -- whether that’s $5, $10 or more -- to do so because that’s enough to provide one meal to a person in need,” said Philanthropy Northwest CEO Kiran Ahuja. The organization is managing the fund.

Donations will go to Food Lifeline, Northwest Harvest and Second Harvest. All three organizations deliver supplies to every food bank across the state.

The growing need comes as some food banks have closed their doors and others may run out of funding and supplies this week.

Estimates show donations in the state have dropped 70 percent. Inslee’s office said the decline is especially affecting communities that are already struggling, such as people of color, immigrants and those in rural areas.

“I’m confident Washingtonians will find it in their heart to help those who are out of work and may be forced every day to pass up a meal or two,” said Second Harvest CEO Jason Clark. “These are our friends, our family and our neighbors — and just a few dollars can give them some comfort and relief.”

WA Food Fund solely serves Washington residents and operates separately from the recently launched America’s Food Fund, which will spread its donations across the country to various organizations.

To contribute to the WA Food Fund, visit www.wafoodfund.org.