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FISH Mobile Food Bank

FISH Mobile Food Bank

The Junior League of Tacoma (JLT) provided $5,000 to the FISH Mobile Food Bank (FISH) to deliver healthy produce in Tacoma and Pierce County.

JLT had been working in collaboration with Healthy Communities of Tacoma/Pierce County (HCPC) since 2011 brainstorming with other community organizations interested in bringing healthy produce to areas of Tacoma and Pierce County with limited or no access to nutritious food. In the spring of 2013, Emergency Food Networks (EFN) and FISH met with us about collaborating and supporting their fledgling project of the FISH Mobile Food Bank. In order for this project to continue its success year after year, FISH and EFN decided to turn to the broader Tacoma/Pierce County community.

JLT saw this as a wonderful opportunity to move forward with a sustainable project that reflected our current platform of Health & Wellness.  To help facilitate the FISH Mobile Food Bank’s success and to have a larger range of nutritious food options for our hungry community, JLT provided $5,000 for a much needed refrigeration unit. This refrigeration unit began operation on October 21, 2013 and expanded their food provisions to include fresh produce, eggs, and other perishable goods.

Emily Happy, the FISH Director of Development & Communications said of the first delivery with the JLT refrigeration unit, “We were able to distribute eggs for the first time last night at Giaudrone Middle School. What an amazing feeling. It’s such an underserved area with few resources and places to turn to for emergency food needs. Junior League of Tacoma is going to help so many families in need. . . We are SO grateful for your support. Our families have been shocked and thrilled that they can now receive eggs and fresh food from the Mobile Food Bank.”

In 2012, The FISH Mobile Food Bank project had a successful first year with the support of Mr. Mike Mowat. He provided the semi-truck and was the main driver for their community stops through which they were able to serve 30,000 people. Since October 1, 2013, the project became a joint operation with EFN who houses the truck. On November 8, 2013, the FISH Food Banks of Pierce County received a $200,000 grant from Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s 2014 Neighborhood Builders award allowing them to eventually expand to ten site stops with two trucks.

From Monday through Friday between 4:30 to 6:30 PM the Fish Mobile Food Bank makes five stops. The stops are: Giaudrone Middle School, Spanaway Elementary School, Bethel High School, Woodbrook, and Browns Point Methodist Church. FISH is now working on mapping where all of their current clients come from, thus being able to strategically position the additional five weekly stops of the second Mobile Food Bank where the need is truly greatest. This mapping should be finished by the end of this year, with the sites rolling out in early 2014.

This money is “an unrestricted grant given to non-profits that address significant needs in a community. It pairs the grant money with leadership training” –Tacoma News Tribune.  The hope is to expand the impact made by FISH in its community, but also sustain their mission and services over time.

It is exciting to know that with the addition of the JLT refrigeration unit to the first Mobile Food Bank, families are now able to receive eggs and other refrigerated products that were missing from their diets. “What a huge difference you’ve made for thousands of people. We’re so grateful!” says Happy.  JLT will continue to be an active community partner with FISH, EFN and HCPC to bring this Mobile Food Bank out into the Tacoma and Pierce County areas with limited to no access to nutritious food and to combat hunger within our community.

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