Amidst all the turmoil of COVID-19 and the strife over racial injustice, Catholic Community Services of Western Washington is helping neighbors meet their basic food needs. Since food delivery started on May 29, CCSWW anticipates it will have coordinated the distribution of around 1 million pounds of food across Western Washington by the end of June. CCSWW is distributing 25 pound boxes of dairy, produce, and protein from the United States Department of Agriculture Farmers to Families Food program.
Last weekend CCSWW served over 2,000 families at events in Everett at Faith Lutheran Church, Mount Vernon at the CCS Farmworker Center, Burlington at the Tri-parish Food Bank, and in White Center at Holy Family Parish.
CCS Northwest Network Builder, Mary Wahl expressed her gratitude for the food and the timeliness of the delivery, “Due to COVID-19, the farmworker community was hit hard by a lack of field jobs this spring which is causing financial problems for many. In addition, many workers have now tested positive for COVID-19 which is extending their inability to work. We are honored to be the coordinating agency for the Farmers to Families through PCFC, and feel especially fortunate to bring this needed food to farmworker families in Skagit Valley.”
The demand for the food was visible at each event. Halfway through the distribution in Everett, over 120 cars snaked through the parking lot and over a half-mile down the street while waiting to receive their food. At the Farmworker Center, the delivery truck arrived 3 hours early, the community was notified and all the food was distributed before the originally scheduled time.
In White Center, volunteers tried to stretch the final food boxes so all cars waiting would at least get one box, unfortunately, over 50 cars went home with nothing. Pastor Fr. Alvarez offered additional insight, “At Holy Family Parish, we are in the middle of the community that has been most affected by unemployment. Due to the pandemic, many people lost their jobs or have had their hours of work reduced and are having difficulty paying their bills. Food is the last thing they should worry about and the distribution of food helps tremendously to improve their quality of life.”
While the need is great, the gratitude was even more palpable. In response to receiving the food, CCS Program Coordinator Guillermina Bazante responded, “It’s a blessing for the Farmworker Center and our community to receive this food. The families receiving this food are extremely grateful and appreciate the ability to prepare culturally appropriate food.” Families receiving food at Holy Family smiled and offered words of appreciation as volunteers loaded boxes in the rain. The gratitude extended beyond the individual volunteers. King County Network Builder, Erin Maguire expressed her deepest gratitude for all the local faith and community partners that made the event happen, “With great compassion our partners have enthusiastically united in service to their communities. We know that the need is great and I am proud that so many organizations have responded with even greater love.”
CCS will continue operating other food distribution events into at least July. To learn how you can get involved, contact your local CCS Network Builder:
- Mary Wahl – email@example.com (Whatcom, Snohomish, Island, San Juan)
- Jose Ortiz – firstname.lastname@example.org (Skagit County)
- Erin Maguire – email@example.com (King County)
- Nick Leider – firstname.lastname@example.org (Pierce, Mason, Lewis, Thurston, Kitsap, Wahkiakum, Jefferson, Clallam, Pacific, Cowlitz, Clark, Skamania)
- Isabel Cisneros Rueda – email@example.com (Grays Harbor)