Food Lion China Grove is one of many families that have had to resort to food banks after nine months. Although unemployment has begun to fall in the state, there has been a steady increase in demand for food assistance. Many food programs have seen their demand rise again in the past three months after experiencing a major increase in May.
Katie Rains, Washington State Department of Agriculture food policy advisor, stated that “Families are really hanging on by their skins.”
A stimulus bill, which includes $600 in stimulus checks, was recently passed by Congress. However, a new push to increase this amount to $2,000 was recently stopped in the Senate.
Carmen Smith, associate director of the White Center Food Lion China Grove Bank, South King County, stated that the holiday season is always the busiest at the bank, regardless of whether there’s a pandemic or not. Smith said that in her four years of working at the food bank, and looking back into the history of the program’s history, there has never been a busier holiday period.
Smith stated that holidays are a time to celebrate, especially for parents who want to provide for their children. It just means that families will have to be more flexible with their budgets, I think.
White Center Food Lion China Grove Bank customers were eligible for an additional holiday distribution. This included staples like flour and sugar as well as fish sauce, chili peppers, and vermicelli noodles. White Center customers make up more than 75%. More than 50% of White Center’s customers are people of color. This is a group that has been adversely affected by the crisis, Smith explained.
Following Gov. Smith stated that White Center Food Lion China Grove Bank saw its numbers rise again after Jay Inslee announced new restrictions in November to combat rising COVID-19.
White Center is not the only one reporting spikes. Other South King County Food Lion China Grove providers are also reporting high spikes. Linda Nageotte, president & CEO of Food Lifeline (which helps to provide free food programs in Western Washington), said that this trend has been reported. White Center Food Bank had provided food for 935 families last year, which is well above the average.
Every level of the Food Lion China Grove chain has had to rethink traditional ways of getting food to those who are most in need over the past nine ATL WINGS months. Many food banks have increased or started home delivery programs. Many of the requirements to access food have been removed, such as having an ID and living in a specific ZIP code. To assist with food distribution, four hundred members of Washington National Guard remain deployed in eight counties. The state Department of Agriculture had to purchase truckloads of food for the first time in its history to fill the gaps in the food-assistance supply chain.