Dear Vashon Neighbors,
We want to thank the entire Vashon community. From our volunteers to our customers, our donors, our fellow island organizations and our intrepid staff, you have been generously supporting the Vashon Maury Community Food Bank as we navigate this difficult time together. The food bank could not do its work without you.
Because of the community’s goodwill, and the hard work of staff and volunteers, our local food bank has been able to continue to provide a wide array of nutritious and high-quality food to a growing number of families. We strive to offer a variety of food that meets the cultural preferences and lifestyle needs of the diverse members of our community.
This is a challenging time for all of us. Some food banks around the country have closed their doors due to a lack of volunteers, staff, food, or financial support. Others have had to ration their food. Some are giving away prepackaged emergency food bags, which results in customers no longer being able to obtain food that meets their dietary requirements and cultural preferences. We are humbled and proud that our community food bank continues to stand ready, and well-stocked, to serve the Islanders who need us.
The gravity of the pandemic has led us to restructure our approach to providing food while incorporating safe social distancing and sanitary best practices. Virtually overnight the food bank staff created a system to promote personal safety for those who wanted to continue to shop on location at the food bank. Now, customers select from a menu of food options given to them from a masked and gloved volunteer. Then our volunteers promptly gather the food items, pack the bags of groceries, and hand them to the customers who are able to wait safely in their cars or a spacious waiting area.
The food bank has traditionally had a home delivery option, and our new approach has made this virtually contact-free. Customers can make selections in advance from a menu of food choices, and volunteers pack and drop off groceries at each customer’s home. Understandably, more customers are choosing home delivery as they follow stay-at-home guidelines. The numbers of home deliveries are five times greater than several months ago. Counting in-person pick-up and home deliveries, we are now providing for more than 300 island families each week, which is about twenty percent more than in the recent past.
Despite this growth, we are confident in our ability to serve those who need us. We know of people who don’t use the food bank because they feel that others need it more than they do. Please help us get the word out. For anyone challenged in securing enough wholesome food, the food bank is here for you.
While we are occupied with the present, we are also planning for our future. We expect the economic recession will reduce the incomes of many people in our community, limiting their ability to purchase nutritious food. Foremost in our minds is the need to be prepared. We are committed to creating sustainability for our programs, and promoting a safe, healthy and respectful environment for our customers, staff, and volunteers.
The uncertainty caused by COVID-19 makes us emphasize the importance of food security. We all know that food is essential for our physical health. And, just as importantly, our ability to offer safe access for our customers, providing as much choice and variety as possible, has been nurturing to the spirits of our customers and to all who make this possible.
Your generous monetary donations, enthusiastic and ready volunteerism and warm public messages have sustained the people behind the food bank. Looking ahead, our goal is to earn your ongoing support. With your lasting partnership, we will continue to provide food and related services to those in need.
With much gratitude,
Vicki Boyd, on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Vashon Maury Community Food Bank
Judith Clegg, Ron Falberg, Mason Gerety, Marcia Horswill, George Meng, Jeanne Marie Thomas and Chip Wright.