The Greenwood Food Bank collects vegetables, fruit, milk and other groceries from local stores to help feed the hungry. But no local grocery store has consistently given as much as Greenwood Market, which will close in early February to make way for an expanded Fred Meyer.
Patty Leach, program manager for the Greenwood Food Bank, which is run by Volunteers of America, says that Greenwood Market donated 183,911 pounds of food and health care products to Greenwood Food Bank last year.
“The Greenwood Market made an incredible difference in our community, they donated not only nutritious healthy meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables but so many basic need items like laundry soap, personal hygiene items etc,” Leach said in an email. “The community supported the food bank weekly always making sure the food drive barrel was full on the scheduled pick-up day. Volunteers of America would like to express our gratitude to everyone for knowing the need in our community and for all your willingness to make a difference.”
This morning I tagged along as food bank employee Ken Stout picked up his usual load of food from Greenwood Market. Stout said he usually picks up about 1,000 pounds of food on each of his four trips to the store each week.
“They’ve been a very, very generous organization,” Stout said of Town & Country Markets, which also owns Ballard Market, Central Markets in Shoreline, Mill Creek and Poulsbo, and a Town & Country Market on Bainbridge Island.
Today, Stout was greeted with a large rolling cart of fruit and vegetables, another cart of dairy products, a grocery cart full of crackers and other boxed food, and another cart of ground coffee, flour and miscellaneous items. The food bank barrels at the front of the store, where customers can donate, brought in another fully-loaded cart.
The store, and customers, donate not only food but health products such as soap, shampoo and toothpaste. Stout has to weigh all the donations before loading it into the van.
Greenwood Food Bank employee Ken Stout weighs every box of donated groceries.
Today Stout drove away with 944 pounds of food. He expects his 1,000-pound average to be less and less as it gets closer to the store closing date, since they won’t be ordering as much inventory.
A full van of groceries collected from Greenwood Market on Friday, Jan. 6.
The good news is that when Fred Meyer reopens in the late fall with a full grocery section, it will partner with Food Lifeline/Feeding America to donate groceries to Greenwood Food Bank.
“Almost every one of our 132 stores is on this perishable donation program and it results in more than 4 million pounds of food donated to food banks each year. In Western Washington, Food Lifeline agencies receive about 2 million pounds,” Melinda Merrill, Fred Meyer’s Director of Public Affairs, told me in an email.
But there will be a gap of nine or 10 months between the time Greenwood Market closes and Fred Meyer reopens, and the food bank is hoping the community can help out.
“We are working very hard on building new relationships and appreciate this opportunity to get the word out that if our local businesses and churches would like to host a food/fund bin during this transition time we would greatly appreciate their help,” Leach said. “We currently have a food bank donation bin located in the Greenwood Safeway for the community. For every dollar used to support the food bank last year we were able to provide 3 meals. We are always grateful for the opportunity when folks hosts food and fund drives for the food bank! To learn more and stay informed join us at our Community Volunteer Night the 2nd Friday of the month from 6pm-8pm or the 4th Saturday of the month from 9am-11am.”
The Greenwood Food Bank is located at 9041 Greenwood Ave. N.