We are engaged in really exciting and inspired work here at Bellingham Food Bank, largely thanks to the support we continue to receive from community members like you. This work is hard and expensive, but we know it’s the work we need to do to fight hunger where we live. We are committed to keeping it going with your help.
We re-opened for in person shopping in July 2021 with double our previous open hours. We have continued to grow our satellite food distributions and to expand our robust home delivery program. This summer we are working with partners to create food access for hundreds of farm worker families at or near their housing while they pick berries that will eventually find their way around the world. In all of our programming we are trying to listen more to our customers about the types of food they seek and are familiar with to inform our purchasing.
Expanded hours, growing programming, the end of many useful pandemic benefits and inflation result in our food bank being unbelievably busy. Bellingham Food Bank is more than 125% busier today than we were pre-pandemic. Each week, more than 3,500 households receive critically needed food from our food bank. To keep up with this demand we are buying more food than we ever anticipated, even after budgeting for significant growth. We buy truckloads of healthy, fresh food and continue to do our best to purchase culturally familiar foods, as well as food from local growers year-round. This has significantly increased our spending and has dramatically improved the food banking experience in positive ways.
Some may feel that people who visit food banks should be happy with whatever is available because it is offered without charge. We believe the opposite.
We believe true anti-hunger work is about people deserving access to a wide variety of nutritious foods that enrich their bodies and affirm their culture. Addressing social and economic inequities is central to our mission, and that has been reinforced as we continue to engage in equity learning. We know that hunger reaches people of color, immigrants, and others who are most impacted by racism and oppression more than other community members, and we must interrupt harmful systems to help more people get what they need. We expect the coming months to continue to challenge us. We will meet the challenges we face with the strength of your support alongside us as you help us to give ALL people access to the food they need.