Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank looks to expand

Limited storage and cramped spaces lead to long wait lines as food bank staff seeks a new home.

Cramped aisles, extreme temperatures and long lines would make for an unpleasant shopping experience for just about anyone.

But, for many residents who rely on the Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank (SVFB) for fresh produce, canned goods, hygiene and everything in between, it’s almost guaranteed.

During the April 2 North Bend City Council meeting, food bank staff discussed their operations and the pressing need for a larger facility.

“The hardest part right now is that the need is growing, but our space is not,” SVFB Operations Manager Dylan Johnson said during the meeting. “We can only have about four people in there shopping at one time, and the lines are very long. Outside, it gets very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter.”

SVFB staff utilize every nook and cranny of the 1,200-square-foot food bank, even storing boxes of diapers in the connected office’s shower. In March alone, food bank staff distributed 40,000 pounds of food to over 1,500 customers — a number that has only increased in recent years.

“It’s pretty obvious if you walk through the space that we’ve outgrown it,” SVFB Executive Director Alison Roberts said. “We’ve really had a remarkable impact, but we really need to grow to meet the needs of the community.”

SVFB is currently searching for a new space along public transportation routes with ample parking and storage. A larger space is also necessary in furthering SVFB’s efforts to better address the root causes of food insecurity.

“The food bank is often the very first stop when people face financial distress for the first time,” Roberts said. “Ideally, we have the space to support them with case workers or a resource coordinator. We would love to be able to host with better access to those assistance programs.”

Currently receiving funding from the city and state, supplemented by local donations, the food bank plans to apply for capital funding once it finds a new location.

“We think it’s going to be $1.5 million for acquisition and another $1 million for renovations,” Johnson said. “But we’re still in the exploration and discovery phase, so things could change.”

Johnson stressed the importance of donations and volunteers in the day-to-day operations at SVFB and invites anyone interested in learning more to visit the SVFB website:

Photo by Mallory Kruml/Valley Record
Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank, 122 E. 3rd St., North Bend.

Photo by Mallory Kruml/Valley Record Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank, 122 E. 3rd St., North Bend.