Submitted by Puyallup Food Bank
As the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the community, more people are facing empty tables. True to their mission, the Puyallup Food Bank has stepped up to help their neighbors and, through the generosity of the Safeway / Albertsons Companies, Inc., is moving to a larger temporary location to meet the demand.
The Puyallup Food Bank will be able to stay at the new temporary location, a former Safeway, which tops out at 40,000 SF, rent-free for 6 months. There is an option to extend the free lease for two additional 3-month extensions which are dependent on whether another tenant acquires the space. The new space expands the Puyallup Food Bank’s capacity by 35,000 SF in addition to increasing their ability to serve more families, this temporary location will also make social distancing easier for the remaining volunteers.
“We were at 80% capacity, 80% of the time pre-COVID, but now the need has tripled,” says Chief Executive Officer Jim Beaudoin. “We are so grateful to Safeway for allowing us to move into this vacant space.”
In fact, the Puyallup Food Bank Board finalized a strategic plan just a year ago detailing the steps to a new, larger permanent home in the next three years that would allow for increased capacity, better access for large delivery trucks and increased parking for clients. “It’s been coming for a long time.” adds Mr. Beaudoin, “We just didn’t know it would need to happen so soon.”
It’s not over yet though he acknowledges. With new refrigeration units needed for the new space, the Puyallup Food Bank will need to raise $20k to ensure the new space is fully operational. They have currently raised $5k for this project as other donations had been needed to fulfill the immediate need and their primary mission of “feeding empty tummies.” They are hoping to get the added push and visibility that they need on May 5th for #GivingTuesday.
“We have seen so many people, businesses and churches come to our rescue, that we remain optimistic about the future,” says Jim Beaudoin. As it stands Sysco Foods has stepped up to provide refrigeration trailers for the immediate future, free of charge until the organization can raise the needed funds for the new refrigeration units. While Whitewater Church of Puyallup cleaned the new location over three days. The Puyallup Food Bank expects to move into their new temporary location the first week in May.
If you would like to donate to the refrigeration fundraising effort go to www.puyallupfoodbank.org/donate. You can choose to make a one-time gift or something more creative like rounding up your purchases for a time period of your choosing. The Puyallup Food Bank also remains in need of volunteers, come by our current location 110 23rd St. SE Puyallup, WA 98372 to pick-up an application.