Sep 27A Community Gathered Around the Kitchen Table
In 2021, 1,234 Mercy Housing Northwest households accessed food assistance programs. As the pandemic stretched into a second year, we worked with residents and community partners to to increase access to food for families.
Some of those community partners included local food banks in the Boise, Bellingham, Seattle, and Tacoma areas. We also partnered with Northwest Harvest, a local nonprofit focused on food justice and delivering food to the communities that need it the most.
Thanks to the generosity of Safeway shoppers, Northwest Harvest donated 521 gift cards. The gift cards, worth $50 each, were handed out to people without access to onsite resident services.
Speaking with Joy Hollingsworth, Western Washington Food Access Network Specialist for Northwest Harvest, she noted, “In times of economic uncertainty, food is often the first thing sacrificed from the budget. Our goal with the gift card donation program is to empower shoppers to purchase food items based on their individual needs. Ultimately, we want to remove constraints and restore dignity to the act of accessing food assistance programs.”
Northwest Harvest partners with schools, community centers, pantry programs, faith communities, grassroots organizations, clinics, and housing organizations such as Mercy Housing Northwest. In 2021, 90% of seniors living in a Mercy Housing Northwest community reported having enough to eat — also referred to as being “food secure.” We saw a dramatic increase in food security
across all MHNW communities.
Along with the hard work of staff, the expansion of SNAP benefits, the availability of raw food, and the expansion of the federal child tax credit all lead to the increase in food security. We know there is still work to be done to ensure all of our residents feel food secure, and thanks to partners like Northwest Harvest, we are closing the gap every day.
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