I walk to Pike Place Market each day for work. I'm a month into a yearlong term as an AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer at the Market, working on projects that promote Food Access in our community. Rain trickles down the sides of towering buildings with clear windows that reflect black town cars, cabs and limousines. Sharp whiffs of wet concrete, coffee, and baked bread cut through the air. I stroll alongside people of many different lifestyles: snappy-dressers, hurried office workers, and those with empty pockets and stomachs.
What is incredible about Pike Place Market is that everyone can find what they need here. There are restaurants where workers can grab a quick lunch, groceries for the busy mom and two hot meals at the Pike Market Senior Center for those who are homeless and hungry.
Each morning as I swerve down the cobblestone alley to the Market offices, I pass by the line of men and women, all seniors, waiting outside of the Senior Center at 7:45 a.m. The seniors are waiting for the doors to open in welcome and for a hot breakfast. For many, the breakfast and lunch they eat at the Senior Center is the only meal they'll eat that day.
I wonder, what must it be like to work your life through, and then find yourself unable to afford groceries, or immobile and unable to leave your home? For many low income seniors in Pike Place Market's residential apartments, this is a reality. What must it be like to decide between paying necessary bills and buying food? Food insecurity is a struggle for hundreds of people who reach out to the Senior Center and the Pike Place Market's social services every day.
Amongst the affluence of downtown Seattle, there are those surviving by the skin of their teeth. In the Market, we all belong. We all are worthy of the opportunity to thrive in the "soul of the city." I believe that none of us should go hungry. And so, I am honored to be serving this community and look forward to taking part in continuing to develop food access programming to combat hunger in the Pike Place Market neighborhood.
Written by Miranda Severns, Farm Program Outreach Coordinator, AmeriCORPS VISTA Leader at Pike Place Market
What you can do to help:
Donate to the Pike Place Market Foundation at 206-774-5243 or www.pikeplacemarketfoundation.org
Donate to the Pike Market Senior Center or volunteer: www.pikemarketseniorcenter.org/pike-market-food-bank