The Hunger Coalition Prepares for the ‘Hunger Season’

Food Bank 2014_011When Spring arrives, The Hunger Coalition braces. In March alone last year, The Hunger Coalition distributed 616 food boxes, second highest to November’s record 757 food boxes. This year, The Hunger Coalition is preparing for even higher numbers.

Many people wonder ‘How can people be hungry in this valley?’ The fact that many individuals and families just don’t make enough money to cover all of their expenses is the main reason, and is explained further in the ALICE Report recently released by the United Way of the Pacific Northwest.

ALICE, which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, takes a close look at those households living above the Federal Poverty line, but not earning enough to make ends meet. According to ALICE, the annual household survival budget in Blaine County is $20,328 for a single adult and $67,176 for a family of four. Many of The Hunger Coalition clients make well below that amount, forcing them to receive food assistance. In 2013, 35% of Blaine County’s 9,205 households were ALICE or living in poverty. Continue reading

Extended Hours at The Hunger Coalition

photo by Dev Khalsa

photo by Dev Khalsa

Spring slack can be a slow time of year for many valley businesses—but it’s one of the busiest for The Hunger Coalition. Many families struggle to pay bills and put food on the table at this time of year.

The Hunger Coalition has seen an uptick in numbers recently, with more and more families arriving in the last hour of business during Monday’s busy food distribution in Bellevue. After conducting client surveys, analyzing check-in times and receiving comments from food recipients about how it can be difficult to access our services after work, The Hunger Coalition decided to extend its Monday mobile food bank distribution during the Hunger Season (when need is high and donations plummet). Continue reading

The Hunger Season is Upon Us

The Hunger Coalition - photo by Dev Khalsa

The Hunger Coalition – photo by Dev Khalsa

When February arrives, The Hunger Coalition braces. Last March, The Hunger Coalition saw 576 locals come through their lines at the Mobile Food Bank—a record high—compared to their last high of 481 people in March of 2011. Many reasons were thrown around for the large uptick in numbers—lack of snow being the biggest. This year, thankfully, the snow fell hard in December, but The Hunger Coalition is still bracing.

 

February also starts the beginning of the “Hunger Season”, when need is at its highest and food donations plummet dramatically. Warehouse shelves become bare and thousands of locals have a tough time putting healthy food on the table. “Early spring has typically been a very busy time for us in the past few years,” said Naomi Spence, associate director of the Hunger Coalition. “Many seasonal jobs depend on snow, and when we experience a dry period like this, those workers are hit hard with smaller paychecks and sudden layoffs,” said Spence. Continue reading