While the season of giving has come and gone, one Tacoma non-profit has made it their mission to help end hunger in Tacoma throughout the entire year. Feed253 started as a labor of love with the intentions of giving back to those most in need throughout the holiday season.
“Feed253 exists to help fill the gap for folks dealing with food insecurity,” Founder and Director of Feed253 Heidi Stoermer tells us. “We do that by supporting existing local charities and occasionally through direct food delivery to families and individuals.”
Heidi and Co-Founder Karin Dhaease, coworkers at the time, organized an office food drive nearly one decade ago. “We called it our ThanksGIVING Food Drive and collected funds from friends, coworkers, and family before going on a shopping trip to a local grocery store. The meat department manager cut us a great deal, and the first year we donated 25 turkeys and fixings to the Tacoma Rescue Mission.” That year, Heidi and Karin stuffed their trunk with their donations and provided the Tacoma Rescue Mission with some help for their Thanksgiving feast that feeds hundreds of local homeless men, women, children, and families each year.
“Feed253 started as an office food drive, but it was always our goal to do more than we did the year before – raise more money, buy more turkeys, give more away,” Karin says. “And thankfully I can say we have been successful in doing that every single year since then.”
Since that first food drive in 2009, Feed253 has grown steadily into the successful, 100% volunteer operated non-profit organization that they are today. Each year, Feed253 hosts their annual Thanksgiving food drive on a much larger scale thanks to dedicated members of the community and sponsors, among a number of fundraising events held throughout the fall and winter in order to curate both food and monetary donations.
Realizing there was a greater need to end hunger and food insecurity in our South Sound community, the women of Feed253 became a non-profit organization in early 2017 and began to provide services in Tacoma year-round. Each month, Feed253 takes on the task of providing the Pierce County YWCA with delicious and thoughtfully prepared meals. Each week, the YWCA hosts dinner for their residents, providing them with a well deserved and welcoming, warm dinner to enjoy. Some of the dinners that Feed253 has provided have included feasts of pork carnitas, smoky barbeque, and casseroles baked with love. Each meal includes healthy options, all the fixings, and of course dessert.
“By supporting the YWCA with meals, more people can and do attend domestic violence support groups. It also allows the team at the YWCA to focus on the services that they provide, instead of feeding their clients,” Heidi says.
In addition to working with the YWCA, Feed253 is dedicated to providing groups such as the St. Leo’s Food Bank, Tacoma Rescue Mission, and The Guadalupe House with food donations throughout the year. “We see ourselves as a link in the chain,” Karin says. “For the most part, we’re not serving the homeless population ourselves, that’s what the Rescue Mission and St. Leo’s do, but we can help them do their work.”
While the organization’s focus is primarily based on providing food donations, Feed253 has also hosted a number of clothing and toiletry drives throughout the year for those in need.
“This work is important to me because I’ve been hungry before,” Heidi tells us. “I know what it’s like to decide between rent and groceries. Feeding someone is the most basic form of humanity.”
If you or someone you know has been looking for the perfect opportunity to give back to others right here in the South Sound, there are a number of ways to lend a helping hand to Feed253. Heidi encourages, “Joining us at our events, sharing our fundraising links and event announcements online, providing food and cash donations, or sporting a Feed253 t-shirt – it all helps!”
To learn more about Feed253’s commitment to ending hunger in Tacoma, visit their Facebook page and be sure to stay tuned for upcoming events and fundraisers to benefit those in need. Monetary donations can be made online, or connect with the women of Feed253 via Facebook to find out how you can donate food or time in person.