Happy New Year! 2020 was incredibly tough and tragic for so many, and it is nice to put it in the rearview mirror. However, it did help our food bank forge new partnerships, demonstrate how nimble and resilient we can be and has given me renewed energy to keep pushing forward for improved access to food for hungry people all across Whatcom County. Thank you for all the support you gave our work in 2020.
Bellingham Food Bank is committed to getting people the food they want, need and deserve. In order to do this we know we will need to keep growing and improving. A lot of our new work in 2021 will focus on making sure we are doing a better job providing Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) access to the food they want. We know that locally and nationally, BIPOC folks, due to the structural racism that continues in this country, are disproportionately food insecure. And, Bellingham Food Bank has not been as sensitive or aware of the barriers we have created for these communities. We are going to do better.
In 2021 we will continue partnering with Lummi Nation and work with that community to support increased food security on Lummi Nation. We are dedicated to having a good relationship with Lummi Food Bank and Lummi Health Clinic and will build upon these partnerships to give those living on Lummi Nation even more access to good food.
We have even more work to do with Nooksack Tribe. We are reaching out to Nooksack Tribe and will listen to what food support Tribal Members need and will cooperatively create improved food access for individuals and families who are part of Nooksack Tribe.
In addition to these new initiatives, Bellingham Food Bank will improve upon the diversity of food it offers to food bank families. We have improved and will continue improving sourcing food that is enjoyed and familiar to the broad array of cultural backgrounds and experiences of all food bank families. In 2021 we will make foods like masa, salmon, tomatillos, lentils, and chickpea flour more consistently available to people who visit our food bank. These foods have been requested among members of communities of color and we are committed to sourcing them as regularly as other products we have come to purchase over the years. We are going to keep expanding our knowledge of what foods are familiar and essential to all of the families that visit us.
These are just some of the plans we have for growth in 2021. We will take on these new efforts without reducing our current services and programs. I hope you are as excited about these new initiatives and our ongoing work as I am. Please join us in helping to feed all of our neighbors.