King County awarded 60 Community Engagement Grants to support community projects in unincorporated areas in King County. The Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank (SVFB) was one of the 60 recipients.
SVFB plays a vital role in the work towards ending hunger in the valley.
In 2018, 14,176 household visits received food assistance from the food bank. A total of 725,488 pounds of food and 172,733 pounds of produce were distributed. About 59 percent of food was recovered from grocery stores, 25 percent from partners like Food Lifeline and NW Harvest, 10 percent from food drives, and 6 percent of the food was purchased by SVFB.
SVFB helps residents from Preston, Fall City, Snoqualmie and North Bend. Their refrigerated van allows them to travel to remote towns near Snoqualmie Pass. Specialized programs include meals for the break, backpacks and supplies, pet food bank and infant items like diapers, formula, cribs and strollers. The food bank also provides access and referrals beyond food including employment, housing, food stamps, health care and transportation.
“It’s awesome,” SVFB operations manager Tom Foot said about the grant. “We’ve been working on this project for quite some time and it feels like the last of that project. [It] lets us serve the people here better, with more respect and more dignity in terms of having the [outside] area looking nice and having an area for our partners. [It’s] important to provide a dignified experience for our partners, volunteers and the people that come here.”
The King County grant will help SVFB enhance the outdoor space at the facility. The food bank plans to build a station to park shopping carts and a bike rack for residents while they “shop” inside. According to Foot, they also plan on extending and flattening the ground area where their partners set up.
“We’re just thankful for all our partners that help us serve the people of the Valley here.” Foot said.
Grant recipients competed for a total of $90,000 in grant funds. Individual grants ranged between $300 to $4,300 each. SVFB received $4,000 to enhance the outdoor space.
“We’ve always said the food bank is more than food,” Foot said. “What we’re trying to do outside is provide a space for our partners to come and help people out.”
The grants program is administered by King County’s Department of Local Services and supports programs and projects such as emergency preparedness, movie nights and native pond habitat restoration.
“Community Engagement Grants support the best of King County,” Executive Dow Constantine said in a press release. “By combining our awards with local funding, we are able to maximize community-driven investments that build stronger neighborhoods, improve our quality of life, and create positive connections between residents.”
Community organizations in each of King County’s seven community service areas received grants. Areas include Southeast King County, Snoqualmie Valley/Northeast King County, Vashon, Bear Creek/Sammamish, Four Creeks/Tiger Mountain, Greater Maple Valley/Cedar River and West King County.
“These grants truly serve the residents of unincorporated King County and I am excited to see many groups working to increase community involvement opportunities,” chair of the Department of Local Services Kathy Lambert said in a release.