SEATTLE — At El Centro de la Raza, the marathon begins. Helping hands are preparing bags for food distribution on Thursday.
"I would say about 200 to 400 per day, Thursday, and Friday. By the end of the week we need to make more bags each week," said Jason Li who is the Food Bank & Nutrient Program Manager. Li said at the beginning of the year they were serving 100 people a day.
"Our trend is more and more clients are coming into our food bank," said Li.
It's a problem being seen all over the county.
"When you go to the store we've seen empty shelves of rice or milk or eggs, all these different items. There's a massive supply chain issue," said Joy Hollingsworth who is part of the Food Access Network Team for Northwest Harvest.
The high inflation is a driver of need in our community as many live on the edge of insecurity.
"As food prices continue to go up, as gas continues to go up, we've seen a lot of people who have accessed the food bank for the first time who have never gone there before because they've never experienced food insecurity," said Hollingsworth.
Still, volunteers show up to stack the shelves. Hollingsworth said the demand is higher than ever.
"When families are thinking about sacrificing, food is often the first to go," She said.
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for groceries increased by 13.5%. It's the largest 12-month increase since March of 1979. Certain food groups increased from 9.4% to 16.2% and it's not just inflation that's an issue.
"Sometimes there's a shortage of items like fresh produce and fresh protein, so that's why we have to buy them from a third-party vendor like Costco," said Li.
Hollingsworth said items are also being discontinued. She said a way to remedy this issue is by donations, even if you can't give ten dollars, one or two makes a huge difference.
KING 5 will launch our annual "Home Team Harvest" later this month and provide details on how you can help Northwest Harvest provide meals for millions of our neighbors.
KING 5 will kick off Home Team Harvest, our annual drive to benefit Northwest Harvest, on Oct. 15. This year, our goal is to raise 21 million meals. Stay tuned for ways you can help, and mark your calendars to watch KING 5’s Home Team Harvest broadcast special on Saturday, Dec. 3.