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Coronavirus In Seattle
caption: Every month, a food bank is set up at the community center in Heber, and some 250 families line up for free food.
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Every month, a food bank is set up at the community center in Heber, and some 250 families line up for free food.
Credit: Jim Zarroli/NPR

Demand is up at Rainier Valley Food Bank in south Seattle. But donations are down

Before the outbreak, Rainier Valley Food Bank served up to 600 households every week. But with schools closed and people being laid off, the number of people in need has grown, said manager James Johnson-Gruspe.

“Instead of people coming to our facility, we are delivering Wednesday and Saturday just to encourage people to stay inside, said Johnson-Gruspe. “And that delivery has gone up to 750 as of now. And there are applications pouring in that we haven’t been able to process yet.”

Food banks across Washington are seeing a surge in demand, but donations have not kept pace. With this in mind, Gov. Jay Inslee and a coalition of non-profits have started a food relief fund to help food banks.

Statewide, more than 1.5 million people are in need of food. In a video, Gov. Jay Inslee announced on Tuesday the launch of WA Food Fund to support food banks.

“This is a group that every dollar raised at Washington Food Fund will go to our food banks and our food pantries so that people and their families can be adequately fed.”

Donations to WA Food Fund, managed by Philanthropy Northwest will go to three non-profit suppliers that provide food to every food bank across the state: Food Lifeline, Northwest, and Second Harvest.

Typically, food banks rely on donations from individuals and businesses such as grocery stores. But lately, those donations are down.