Social service agencies partner in 2022

VYFS & Vashon Food Bank launch partnership to connect islanders to social services.

The Vashon Food Bank (VFB) and Vashon Youth & Family Services (VYFS) have partnered together to further assist families and individuals in navigating social services locally and regionally.

In 2021, VFB applied for funding through a pilot program called the Remote Access for Rural Food Banks, which is provided by the Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy (VSHSL) through King County. This program is intended to provide funding for food banks to increase access to critical human services for food bank customers, as well as the community at large. VFB was awarded approximately $146,000 in 2021 through the levy, to be reimbursed over the pilot program period through 2022 and 2023.

At the end of 2021, on average, VFB served 230 households, about 500 individuals per week through grocery pickup and home delivery. The Food Bank also served 1,000 meals per week to children and adults during Picnics To Go over the summer.

At the same time, VYFS’ Community Needs Assessment highlighted the need for Vashon’s human service agencies to increase communications and cooperation going forward. In response to the assessment, VYFS also worked to increase hours and service locations for the Oasis program.

VYFS’ Oasis program connects islanders with social service programs and also offers a voucher program. Vouchers cover a variety of things, such as ferry passes for off-island medical appointments, VIGA boxes, and prescription vouchers.

VYFS Executive Director Jeni Johnson and VFB Executive Director Emily Scott, both wanting to avoid creating an overlap in services between the two agencies, came to the decision that the levy funds could be best utilized to support the expansion of the Oasis program.

For the next two years, Oasis will be funded on a reimbursement basis by VSHSL funds, jointly administered by VFB and VYFS. With these funds, there will be the opportunity to further expand the hours and locations of the current Oasis Resource Navigator, Meagan Fitzgerald. The funds will also be used to hire a second position at the Food Bank to do administrative work and build an online directory for the Vashon Social Service Network.

“Getting funding from King County has been really exciting,” said Scott, also noting that the timing has been great for the new partnership for the two agencies.

The Oasis program is currently open at the Food Bank on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and at the Vashon United Methodist Church on Thursdays from 12 to 3 p.m. The program is also available on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., via telephone at 207-200-6788.