Vashon Maury Community Food Bank Programs
Weekly Food Distribution. We are open for food distribution to anyone in need every week. We offer a self select shopping experience rather than a pre-bagged selection to make sure that people have choice and can most appropriately meet their dietary requirements or restrictions. We value a welcoming and supportive atmosphere and work to make everyone's experience as positive as possible. We are a true community organization that is here for any one of us if or when the need arises. We serve an average of 200 or more families each week throughout the year.
Home Delivery Program. We offer a home delivery program to those that are unable to make it to the Food Bank themselves during our normal distribution hours. We make extensive notes regarding each family's dietary restrictions and preferences so that we can tailor the bags to better meet the needs of the people we are serving. We have a team that puts these bags together weekly and then delivers them in our unmarked food bank van to our homebound clients.
Connecting to other Services. We offer hands-on help signing up for the Food Stamp program and other assistance programs. We work collaboratively with the DSHS mobile office truck so that at least every other month our community has access to direct sign up for assistance programs. We actively collaborate with other local social service agencies, churches and service groups to connect our clients to other needed resources, from rental and utility assistance, to free firewood, to dental work, to counseling and more.
Food Bank Farm and Garden. We operate a Food Bank Garden on-site as well as a half-acre off-site portion of farmland. We offer our customers and really anyone in the community a chance to help out in the Farm or Garden while learning about growing your own fresh produce. This program has been a huge success in our continued goal of increasing the nutritional value and offerings of Food Bank groceries. In 2012 we grew 6000 pounds of fresh organic produce. Food Bank customers got to experience fresh from the Farm produce, unlike much of the produce that we typically receive that needs to be sorted through because it is at the end of its shelf life.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Growing Our Own Produce. We have turned a new corner in working to increase the nutritional value of what we have to offer. We installed a large, year-round working Food Bank garden at our Food Bank site. This garden is volunteer based, drawing from many facets of our community, including many of our clients.
We also started an off-site Food Bank Farm project in which we are planting some farm crops. These projects give us a unique and incredibly nutritious fresh source of produce for those in our community that can hardly afford to even look in the produce section of our local grocery store. Our fresh produce offers the best nutrition we could ever hope to give people. We have designed this program to supply our own shelves and be able to share excess produce with other food banks in South King County. In 2012 we actively planted a large amount of winter crops to ensure a supply of fresh produce during the off-season. Now we are able to harvest fresh food nearly year-round.
We would love general funding as well as funding to increase our capacity. We currently operate with 1 full time staff and 3 part-time staff. Our client base has grown considerably as well as our programs and volunteer base to keep these important programs going. Currently, over 90% of our funding comes directly from our community. We need more staff time to keep managing it all and/or to be able to expand our services any further.