SEATTLE — The SODO Community Market has only been open just over a year, but it has quickly become a vital community resource.
Northwest Harvest operated a food bank for more than 30 years before building a completely new concept operating as an essentially free grocery store.
Northwest Harvest CEO Thomas Reynolds said they were “intent on destigmatizing the experience of taking home a bag of nutritious groceries at no cost...If you’re hungry and you’re here, you’re welcome."
The doors are open to all community members without qualifiers.
Reynolds and his staff have continued their mission despite the coronavirus pandemic and are finding success in a new format. The shelves and grocery displays were removed so that the market could act as an emergency response service.
Northwest Harvest converted the SODO Community Market into a take-away food distribution center that packs up bags of fresh, healthy meals with fruits and vegetables for anyone who walks up to their window. There is even an assortment of sandwiches that are ready to eat.
The assembly line effort is fueled by volunteers who continue to provide food and resources despite the pandemic complications.
The market also contains meeting space and consultation services like legal and health care.
“We just had someone come for food and left with housing," Reynolds said.
Innovation has been key to Northwest Harvest continuing to be a lifeline for thousands of hungry people and is located strategically just off the bus route.
“We are literally 45 feet from two bus lines and have even added a cash card component so people can go to their local store and purchase exactly what they need,” Reynolds explained.
In a time of great need, Northwest Harvest has evolved to be sure their SODO Community Market is open to all that need help.
The community market is located at 1915 4th Ave. S in Seattle and is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday.