SEATTLE -- Major progress is being made in the battle against hunger in Western Washington. One of the largest non-profits in the Puget Sound region is doubling its operation.
A new warehouse for Food Lifeline in South Seattle will allow volunteers to send out 100 million pounds of food a year to food banks and service centers, feeding more than 800,000 hungry people in Washington state.
Some 20,000 volunteers will soon be hard at work the new distribution center at S. 96th Street and 8th Ave. S.
“We go to the places where there is food that is not going to be sold that’s still healthy and nutritious," Food Lifeline CEO Linda Nageotte said. "We pick that up with our fleet of trucks, bring it back to our warehouse and distribute it to 275 local food banks, meal programs, and shelters.”
Food Lifeline, known as the food bank to food banks, has been in operation since 1979. The recent doubling of its operation to rescue food required a lot of hard work and fundraising.
“Hunger doesn’t have to happen," explained Nageotte. "Every single one of us can play a role at ending hunger.”
From small donations, to support from big names, like celebrity chef Tom Douglas, the dream is being realized with the new warehouse.
“Feeding hungry people changes lives," said Nageotte. "Hungry children can’t learn at school. Hungry adults aren’t productive at work. Hungry seniors get sick longer and more often. We can change all that.”
Food Lifeline contributors and partners are excited the new warehouse will allow more of their food to end up feeding more people in need.
“We believe in what they do, and we’re committed to doing everything that we can to support their great cause," Stuart Holmes with Charlie's Produce said.
Charlie's Produce is a big part of the success, donating 250,000 pounds of food per year.
“The number one food that’s available to us is fresh produce," explained Nageotte. "That’s also the thing that hungry people say they need the most of all.”
The expansion would not be possible without help from the community. Tom Douglas is a board member at Food Lifeline. He has created, in all of his restaurants, a year of giving where patrons can donate through their bills. He has promised to match up to a certain amount of contributions.