Pike Place Market has long been famous for its food: fresh produce, flying fish, farm stands, specialty ingredients, fine dining…and the list goes on! But at the heart of the Market's food community is Pike Market Food Bank,a nonprofit that hasprovided residents of downtown Seattle with free, nutritious groceries in a friendly environment since 1979. To learn more about the organization's mission, reach, and ways Seattleites can get involved, we spoke with PMFB manager Brian Anderson.
What is Pike Market Food Bank's role in the downtown Seattle community?
Brian Anderson: The Pike Market Food Bank provides services to low-income and homeless people of all ages to address the problems that result from inadequate nutrition and isolation in those communities. We provide groceries to an average of 600 downtown Seattle households every week. In 2014, we had over 31,000 visits to our food bank and we are on a pace to serve even more in 2015. Market vendors are incredible donors, last year providing us with over 68,000 pounds of food for our clients. And members of the Market community, both those who shop with us and those who serve with us, are a sustaining source of inspiration and strength.
Where does funding for Pike Market Food Bank come from?
BA: By operating in conjunction with the Pike Market Senior Center, the Food Bank is free to concentrate on bringing in the balanced nutrition that our clients need. Senior Center development staff help bring in the necessary funds so we can concentrate on developing partnerships with Market vendors, grocery stores, businesses and individuals who can provide both food and financial donations to purchase food for our clients. I am daily reminded of the incredible advantages we have in operating a Food Bank located at the Pike Place Market. The additional support of the Pike Place Market Foundation gives us a huge leg up in terms of serving our clients.
can local community members get involved?
BA: The Pike Market Food Bank is a fantastic place to volunteer both for individuals and groups. We are open for distribution every Tuesday and Thursday. Those days,
volunteers begin arriving as early as 7 am to help set up the distribution line and pack our home grocery delivery bags. We deliver groceries to 80 homebound individuals each week. Most of our volunteers arrive by 9:30 am for our “morning meeting” where we assign roles for the day. Then we open and serve our clients from 10 am-1 pm.
Another way for groups to get involved is by collecting food. Food drives are easy. We can provide donation barrels, donation pick up, lists of our most needed items—all the logistics needed. But community groups provide the heart and hands that ensure success.