Seattle charities see growing need for food and fuel aid
The Salvation Army in Bellingham expected demand to decline as the pandemic waned, but instead found the opposite.
BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The Salvation Army Food Bank in Bellingham was popular the moment it opened. But while they expected to see a decrease in need as coronavirus cases declined and workplaces physically reopened, they saw the opposite – an increase in the number of customers, needing food, fuel and other forms of assistance. They are committed to continuing to help and welcome donations and volunteers.
An hour into food bank opening hours, shelves once full of produce, meat and milk are being emptied as families stock up on groceries needed for the week. Robyn Rose, a customer and volunteer, says the Salvation Army Food Bank has been a much needed resource at a time when many other options were cut off.
“Before COVID, they had — you could go there five days a week and find a place that had a meal,” Rose said. “But then it all hit and it just changed, but because of the Salvation Army they started getting in the car – it was a great thing, a great thing.”
The Salvation Army in Bellingham said it saw a massive influx of people in need of help.
“At the start of COVID we were serving 500 people, three months ago we were around 800, just last week we served 1025 people and that was just in a week,” said Lt. Chase Green of the Salvation Army.
While Green said there can be many contributing factors, one is obvious to anyone spending money.
“The cost of living is rising every day,” Green said.
The most recent consumer price index showed a 7.9% increase in food costs from 2021 to 2022. Gas has also seen a recent spike.
“It’s a huge thing,” Green said. “Every day someone asks us if we can help them with gas. Because it’s something – they just can’t get from home to work, or from their house to here – so that’s something we’re working on right now.”
To donate to the Salvation Army in Bellingham, click here.