Governor Jay Inslee visited the Nourish warehouse this morning to welcome members of the National Guard. The Guard is filling in for our regular volunteers to help to keep our neighbors fed during the COVID-19 pandemic response.
Nourish relies on 1000 volunteers annually to provide service at our 26 distribution sites throughout Pierce County. The majority of our volunteers are over 60 years old, and, based on recommendations from the CDC, staying at home to safeguard their health. The National Guard is stepping in to pack boxes and distribute them to clients at Nourish locations throughout the county.
Nourish, as well as all Washington State Food Banks, is considered an essential service during the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, which has been extended to May 4, 2020. As businesses temporarily or permanently close and unemployment numbers spike, the need for food banks will continue to increase. The National Guard’s involvement allows Nourish to continue to feed our neighbors in need with compassion, dignity and respect.
We are at a precarious moment in the nearly 40 year history in our work to feed those in need throughout the county. Be assured that while we navigate through this COVID-19 crisis, the safety of our clients, volunteers and staff is the first consideration in our mission to provide nutritious food to our neighbors in need.
Every day, events on the national and local level bring even more uncertainty. I am proud of the resilienceand professionalism of the Nourish staff & volunteers who are bravely determined to keep our doors open.We haven’t seen anything like this since the Recession of 2008 when our customer base increased by 132%.
This crisis is different. How we operate is temporarily changing in order to meet increasing demand, health & safety needs. Last year, 66,000 Pierce County residents were served by Nourish. If history repeats itself, this number could double within weeks. What makes this more concerning is that with school closures, families will suddenly have unexpected childcare costs, and as business slows, companies will be laying off employees. Nourish is preparing for a tidal wave.
Nourish is determined to not cease service to those in our community who will no doubt be impacted the most—but we need your help.
More demand means more shelf stable food needs to be purchased. In order to keep people safe from infection, we must invest in additional supplies & technology. We are doing all we can to get our customers fed through this crisis. When it comes to an end, the reality is the community will still need us. While we need to feed more of our neighbors now, we also need to emerge from this crisis financially stable and to be prepared for the next emergency – because there will be another emergency and Nourish will be needed.
How Can You Help? The additional steps we are implementing carry additional expense and present new and logistical challenges. We know our Nourish community stands with us and today, we ask that you please make a financial gift.
We don’t know what tomorrow, next week, or next month will bring. What we do know is that your support will make an impact to help ensure that those who need our help most will get it. Thank you for supporting your community.
We continue to closely follow information and guidance from the Department of Health, CDC and the Governor’s office and it is possible that new recommendations may change the way we provide services. For now, food distribution service continues as regularly scheduled at our other 17 Nourish locations. Any changes to service will be announced on our website and through our social media platforms.
Can you feed 66,000 of your Pierce County neighbors? If you volunteer with Nourish Pierce County, you can. We are in urgent need of Volunteer Drivers to load and transport food from our retail partners to our food banks and warehouse. We also need volunteers to help load our trucks every weekday morning at our warehouse in SE Tacoma.
Please contact Operations Manager, Mark L’Esperance, at 253-365-4287 or email at Operations@nourishpc.org, for more information.
To all Customers and Volunteers: As we monitor the COVID-19 virus in Washington state, we want you to know that Nourish considers your health and safety a priority. We are sharing important information that can help our entire community stay its healthiest. Please do your best to follow the guidelines distributed by the Centers For Disease Control (CDC):
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home when you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, such as fever or chills and a cough or sore throat.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Customers: If you are feeling ill and need food, please arrange for a healthy friend or family member to “shop” for you. Please instruct your friend/family member to check in under your name. If you must come to the food bank, please notify staff immediately upon arrival that you are ill. They will ask you to wait in your car or outside away from others while someone shops for you. We will do our best to make sure you get the food you need.
We all appreciate your help in keeping everyone healthy.