Arlington Community Food Bank Programs
The Arlington Community Food Bank is the only food bank in our community. The next closest services are located in either Everett or Darrington, a distance of over 30 miles, both too far away for most of our impoverished or homeless clients to travel. Without the supplemental and emergency food assistance we provide, many of our clients would be unable to access basic needs services due to geographic isolation and extreme poverty. Our volunteer staff and board live and work in the communities they serve, and we pride ourselves on being a true community asset, uniquely aware of and highly responsive to the ever changing needs of our constituents.
Agricultural roots in our community have contributed to a large migrant population settling within the Cascade Foothills; as a result 17% of our clientele is Hispanic, with an additional 16% Russian. Overall, minority participants make up 42% of those served. More than 40% of those who regularly access the food bank are children under the age of 18.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Our Success and our Need are about the same item: a new food bank building.
For many years the food bank was housed in an otherwise unused public works building near the city’s utility facilities. Having never been designed for the purposes of food storage and distribution, the building has always presented its share of challenges, both for volunteers and our clients. We have now lost the use of the food bank building, however, as the Arlington Public Works department has need to utilize the property for an expansion of an adjacent public utility. The food bank is currently located in temporary quarters.
The Food Bank has been very successful in designing a new building to not only continue service, but also to facilitate a long overdue expansion of our capacity to meet the rising needs of our community. The City of Arlington donated land, local supporters are raising capital funds, and Snohomish County authorized a significant Community Block Grant to support the construction of a larger, centrally located building specifically designed for the task of food storage and distribution. It will include dedicated warehouse and receiving areas, private donation spaces, client distribution area, a conference room, restrooms, and outdoor spaces. The new building will also be a designated emergency distribution site in case of a regional disaster. Our need is for grants and donations to finish funding the capital campaign so that we can soon break ground on our new facility.