From stranded to happy …

Last Friday, the day before our annual Harvest Dinner Fundraiser, two men walked into the Food Bank looking for Catholic Community Services. Staff & volunteers were rushing around trying to get everything together to load up the truck to take everything down to the event site.

Someone handed me a piece of paper asking me if I knew the directions of the place these two men needed to go. I got up from my computer and went to tell them how to get to where they were going. The two looked tired, unshaven, and unclean. They had a scrappy little dog with them and some dirty blankets. I told them how to get to where they were going.

One asked if they could please sit down. They had been walking all day and just needed to rest for a few minutes. I invited them to have a seat at our kitchen table. As they sat, they began to unravel their story…

They were from Spokane Washington, about a 5 hour drive from Seattle, on the Eastern side of the state. A friend had asked them if they wanted to drive to Seattle for a little visit with her for a couple of days. They obliged. Upon arrival, they needed to stop to buy food for their little dog. She took them to Petco and said she had to run an errand and would be right back. They waited for her in the parking lot. She never returned. Without any money, they ended up sleeping in the parking lot of the pet store. When morning came, they walked and found their way to the I-90 Bridge. Tired and hungry, they found a gas station. Nobody would help them. Finally, a woman told them they could go to Catholic Community Services and somebody would help them. Not being from Seattle, they had no idea where this was.

They told me, people were mean to them. They just wanted to get home. I gave them food to eat, water to drink, and told them I would call Catholic Community Services to make sure this is really the place for them to go. Voice mail after voice mail, no human would answer their phone. I called other social service agencies. Again, more voice mail. What a busy phone day everyone seemed to be having! I called my friend Donna, a lobbyist with the Catholic Conference. She told me to hang tight. She would make some calls.

I went out and found Juan, one of our board members who volunteers with us to give food to our homeless clients. “Juan, I have two men inside who are hungry. Will you please put together a couple of bags of food for them?” I went back inside and told the men I was waiting on a return call. They were free to stay, rest and eat. Krishna, one of our volunteers gave them hot coffee to drink. Darya, a staff person  warmed up some cooked chicken from lunch. Then Juan came in with two big bags of food and gave one to each. The younger man looked in his bag. His eyes big with delight, and exclaimed,“Pop Tarts! They gave us Pop Tarts! I haven’t had Pop Tarts in years!” He nudged his friend to look in his bag to see if he had Pop Tarts too. His friend smiled and said, “You all have been so nice to us. Nobody else treated us this way.” I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Thank me after we get you home.”

I came back to my office and thought to myself, with all my connections, why is it so hard to find someone who will help these two men and their little dog? I got on Facebook and asked the universe for help. Waiting for answers, I started to make more phone calls. Finally, my friend Donna called me back. She told me that Catholic Community Services will help them. Tell them to ask for Flo. She also said to give the men her phone number just in case they get the run around when they get there.
I told the men how to get to Catholic Community Services. It’s only a few blocks away from our food bank. They both thanked me and said, ”Before we leave, we want to give these blankets to the next poor souls who finds themselves having to sleep outside.” I explained that we are a food bank and that we feed people who are hungry. “No, you respect people and give them their dignity,” he said.
I went back inside and found messages from Kathy who said St. Mary’s Church would buy their bus tickets back home. Linda said St. Vincent dePaul would also buy their tickets. I called and thanked them and explained Catholic Community Services will help the men out this time. Next time, I’ll know to call on them.

All in a day’s work… – Alison Pence, Food Bank Director, September 24, 2015

Call for VOLUNTEERS August 6 through 13th, please!

Good day, fans and friends of the Food Bank @ St. Mary’s!  Thank you for all you do to help us in our mission to eliminate hunger! You are greatly appreciated!

We have received a lot of donations this week and we are expecting more on Monday, so we are asking for your help; these donations need to be sorted and organized. If you could please find some time, either alone or with your friends and family, between 7 am and 3 pm, on Thursday, August 6th through Thursday, August 13th (closed Sunday) to help us with this sorting, we would be eternally grateful! We are in desperate need of your help! Come help us make a difference in the lives of others!

Please email or phone 206-324-7100 x 23 and let her know when you will be available to help.

Many thanks!

Alison Pence, Director

The Food Bank @ St. Mary’s 16th Annual Harvest Dinner

Saturday, September 19th, 5:30 p.m., Seattle Design Center, 5701 – 6th Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98108

Ticket price: $50 if you register by September 4th; $60 after that date. final deadline for event registration is Friday, September 11th.

Event will include: Hors d’ouevres, dinner, beer and wine, silent and live auctions and a short program on the Food Bank’s mission and clients. and these popular features will be back, the wine Wall, the “Golden Ticket” raffle for a chance to win the live auction item of your choice, music and the fabulous dessert dash! More details to follow later.

New this year – online registration and payment. Please register and pay early. It’s convenient and easy! And it helps ensure the success of our event! Use this link:

Credit and debit card processing on this site is provided by the same company that processes payment for auction items purchased at the event. Be assured that the site is safe and secure.

You will be asked to enter your name, address, phone number, email address, the name of your table captain and meal preference (roast pork loin or vegan potato cake with mushrooms),  as well as credit card/debit card information.

We encourage online registration, but if you prefer, you can also register by calling or emailing the Food Bank office and then mailing your check.

The Food Bank @ St. Mary’s

611 20th Avenue South

Seattle, WA 98144

Or call 206-324-7100, ext. 18

Thanks so much! We look forward to seeing you at this wonderful event that benefits the hungry in our community!



Public Hours:

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday:

611 20th Ave. South,
Seattle, WA 98144

The Food Bank @ St. Mary's would like to thank our community Partners and Sponsors.