History

Located in the Jackson neighborhood of Seattle’s Central District, The Food Bank @ St. Mary’s began as a tiny neighborhood food pantry in the early 1940’s, offering emergency assistance to families in need. By 1963, the pantry was recognized as a food bank that was open to serve all people within Seattle City limits, with regular hours and steady year-round service. In need of more space to keep up with rising customer numbers, The Food Bank @ St. Mary’s moved from a small space in the church into our present home on the ground floor of the church rectory. St. Mary’s generously donates the space, but the food bank is a separate non-profit organization and does not receive funding from the church. Over 6,700 people come to this food bank each month for groceries.

Anyone living in Seattle is welcome to use the food bank. We have a Walk-In Program available three days a week. People may choose which groceries they would like to take from our weekly selection of meat/fish, dairy, canned items, bread, produce and frozen food. We also have a Home Delivery Program for people who are unable to come into the food bank due to age, illness or disability. Our volunteer drivers deliver the food and keep track of the customers’ dietary restrictions for future deliveries. In addition, we have a “No-Cook” Program for people who do not have access to cooking facilities. This program is often used by our homeless customers. We have a Baby Corner Program for young families that provides food, formula, diapers and referrals. Each month we are able to provide a limited number of Toddler Bags. Our Hygiene Program gives products like soap, shampoo and toilet paper as they become available through the donation stream.

The Food Bank @ St. Mary’s helps provide food for people who find they are unable to provide it for themselves. Some of the people who come in have temporarily hit hard times, but many are experiencing long term economic struggles. We strive to offer our services in a courteous and hospitable atmosphere.

People from many different backgrounds work/volunteer at or come into the food bank. We have our signs, fliers and announcements translated into five different languages (Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian and Korean). Many of our staff and volunteers speak more than one language. We take our customers backgrounds into consideration when purchasing food so that we can provide culturally appropriate choices for people.

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