For clients of the University District Food Bank, everyday life can become an emergency.
“You get accustomed to living hand to mouth, moment to moment. There's no longevity. Nothing is certain, not even tomorrow,” William Sandoval, a food bank customer and volunteer, said.
Sandoval struggled with homelessness for 10 years after he says he became injured. A former firefighter, he says he has some supplies if disaster should come.
“Maybe three days, but two weeks – no. I don't think anyone here is looking for the Big One,” Sandoval said.
Food bank leaders say they have enough food and water to sustain volunteers and customers in store when disaster hits, and could stay open a day or two before fresh food goes bad.
However, there are at least 121 families on Seattle’s northeast side – mostly seniors, people with disabilities, and parents with young kids – who would suffer the most. They rely on home delivery, and if roads close volunteers will not be able to get to them.
“There are so many potential variables it is hard to say if we could get to all the households,” Fran Yeatts with West Seattle Food Bank said.
“If all roads are closed we could still deliver to households that are close to us but may not be able to get to households that are over a half mile away as we would be delivering on foot,” she said.
The executive director says her team delivers to about 70 households in West Seattle.
“When we have talked to families in the past and even provided them some emergency supplies, those supplies often get used in everyday life,” University District Food Bank executive director Joe Gruber said.
For Sandoval, he thinks the solution is food and water, with a side of disaster education.
“You can’t blame them," Sandoval said. "They're hungry and that's what they're driven by. I think it's going to take more than just the advent of the possibility of something happening.”
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