Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Nourishing our Community

By Guest Blogger, Sue Potter, Executive Director, Nourish Pierce County. 

Sue Potter (right)
Nourish is the largest network of Food Banks in the County, operating 24 distributions sites.  Our reach is vast.  Last year, one-third of all food bank visits in the county are to a Nourish food bank. In fact, 7% of Pierce County visited a Nourish food bank at least once last year.  We couldn’t reach that many people in need without partners like the United Way.

I’d like to publicly thank United Way for the generous donation of a refrigerated vehicle. It sounds so simple, but let me tell you, it has helped us to redistribute thousands of pounds if fresh produce to over 61,000 food bank customers. The addition of a refrigerated box truck, brings the total number of vehicles in the refrigerated vehicle fleet to five. These vehicles are used for food rescue, meal delivery, gleaning and perishable donation pickups, resulting in nearly 250,000 pounds of food and the equivalent of more than 220,000 meals. Thank you all for making it a priority to move people out of hunger in our community.

Having fresh produce has helped us to improve the variety of nutritious food options. Fresh fruit and produce at food banks is The Gold Standard and because of United Way, we meet this standard. The latest truck in our fleet is gold and we lovingly refer to her as Goldy.
I want to tell you about Debbie, who still tears up when she talks about her trips to the Nourish Pierce County food bank. “It’s just temporary … just temporary,” she says.

She and her husband recently suffered through a series of difficulties and suddenly found themselves not able to make ends meet. Since she lost her job, they’re on one income for five people.. She was working in a warehouse and making a decent wage, but physical limitations and trying to “keep up with the kids” left her out in the cold.

Adding to the woes, both her car and her husband’s car died on their way to work just a few weeks apart. After 12 years without car payments, they now have two. She tells us, if it wasn’t for the food bank, we would have to decide between food and paying our expenses. This is a godsend. The food they get here lets them know they are going to have enough food to last you a week or so.

'Goldy' the newest in the fleet
Debbie and her family are one of thousands of people in our community who would not have food if it wasn’t for the support of partners like United Way of Pierce County. They are one of the driving forces behind Hunger-Free Pierce County. And by driving, in my case, I mean literally. United Way has funded mobile food delivery in the County.

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