Nourishing our Neighbors: Darleen and Brittnee

Darleen and Brittnee, mother and daughter, agree on two things, that life is sometimes unkind and that Nourish provides them with the resources to get back on their feet.

Darleen and Brittnee are clients at the Southeast Tacoma Nourish Food Bank. Darleen is currently recovering from an accident that left her unable to work. Her daughter, Brittnee, is also a mother raising two children while she is finishing classes in culinary arts at a local technical college.

Darleen says “It’s hard financially and I often get low on food.” Darleen says that no food is wasted in her neighborhood, providing any extra meals or supplies to neighbors who need it just as much as she does. “I just feel you shouldn’t have more than you need,” she says.

Brittnee talks about her children, “The kids are growing and very active so they eat a lot.” She says the food bank provides her some solace when things appear bleak.

Darleen explains that they only come to the food bank when need it. “I try not to use it but sometimes I just have to.” For this family, Nourish helps keep hunger at bay so they can address other needs in their life.

Thank you to Chris Fruitrich, retired journalist and current Nourish volunteer, for this interview.

Nourish Launches Mobile Food Banks at Local Colleges

Half of community and technical college students struggle with food insecurity. A national survey conducted by University of Wisconsin researchers found that between 42% and 56% of community college students reported being food insecure in the last 30 days.

To help respond to this problem, Nourish has formed a new partnership with local community and technical colleges here in Pierce County. This year, the Nourish Mobile Food Bank has started service at five new sites at local schools including:

  • Bates Technical College
  • Clover Park Technical College
  • Pierce College Puyallup
  • Pierce College Fort Steilacoom
  • Tacoma Community College
Sue Potter, Nourish’s Executive Director, gives a tour of the mobile food bank at Bates Technical College


For two hours each week, the mobile food banks provide food to people in need at each site. In the eight weeks since we launched the first college site at TCC, we have served food to 672 people from these new distribution locations.

While the mobile food banks are located on campus, they are open to anyone in need. Many of the campuses are located in neighborhoods with limited food options, so the new mobile food bank sites are a help to college students as well as the community members living nearby.

Nourish’s mobile food banks are full-service food banks on wheels. They provide clients with the same amount of food as if they visited one of our fixed location food banks and they use the same self-select service model. Nourish currently has seventeen mobile food bank sites around Pierce County.

To find the hours of operation, visit our Food Bank Locations page.
Support Nourish’s ability to provide this service, make a donation today.

Get to Know a Nourish Food Bank: Mobile at Mary Bridge Children’s Health Center

When you check in at MultiCare’s Mary Bridge Children’s Health Center, one of the questions you will be asked is how often you worry about your family having enough to eat.  Motivated by the results of those check-in surveys, Jamie Kautz picked up the phone and called Nourish.

Jamie, Pediatric Care Continuum Director, and her colleague, the hospital’s previous chief medical officer, came to Nourish and explained the problem. Their patients were facing food insecurity and  hunger, for people who are sick, has an even larger impact. Jamie explained, “If you have a chronic disease and poor nutrition, you will only get sicker.”

Sue Potter, Nourish’s Executive Director, shared pictures of Nourish’s mobile food bank and described the program. “We signed up on the spot.” Jamie said.

Nourish launched our mobile food bank site at Mary Bridge Children’s Health Center in September 2018. Located directly on the hospital campus in central Tacoma, it is easily accessible for patients and their families, as well as the community.

“Thanks to the relationship with Nourish, we can point them to a concrete solution to the immediate problem they are facing.” Jamie explained that some patients have started to reschedule their appointments so they can be at the hospital on the same day as the food bank. “The doctors can turn to the client and say ‘I can literally walk you right outside and get you something to help.’” Jamie said.

“After 7 years of operating one mobile unit, we were finally able to expand to add a second mobile food bank last year. It was fantastic to launch the new truck by serving at Mary Bridge. We know that hunger and health are linked and this site helps patients address both at the same time and place.” Sue said.

Nourish’s mobile food banks are full-service food banks on wheels. They provide clients with the same amount of food as if they visited one of our fixed location food banks and they use the same self-select service model. Nourish currently has seventeen mobile food bank sites around Pierce County.

To support Nourish and our mobile food banks, make a donation or sign up to volunteer.

Nourish Donors: Safeway and Albertsons Stores

If you shopped at a Safeway or Albertsons last fall, your cashier might have asked whether you want to donate a bag of food to fight hunger. Thank you to all of you who said yes!

Safeway and Albertsons corporate offices collected all the donated funds together and used their bulk purchasing power to buy essentials for food banks. In coordination with our partners at Northwest Harvest, Safeway and Albertsons delivered this food to our warehouse so we can get it into the hands of people in need.

Safeway and Albertsons donation at the Nourish warehouse

The picture above shows Kevin, a local Safeway store manager, and Kate, the Edgewood Nourish Food Bank manager, at Nourish’s warehouse.

Thanks to all of your donations, Nourish received 117 pallets of food in January. The shipment was full of food bank staples like peaches, beef stew, canned vegetables, peanut butter and canned ham.

Nourish clients will see these items show up on the shelf in the coming months. The 117 pallets we received will have an enormous impact to help keep our food bank shelves stocked this year. Last year, Nourish shared six million pounds of food with our neighbors in need, so these pallets represent about 5% of what we distribute in a year.

“Grocery store partnerships are an integral part of the way Nourish receives food.” Mark, Nourish’s Director of Operations said. “Large donations like this help us keep food banks full and ready for people who need us. Bulk donations allow us to be more efficient with the limited food purchasing funding we have, so we can save it for when a critical need arises.”

Thank you to Safeway and Albertsons stores and also thank you to everyone who donated at the register last fall!

Nourishing our Neighbors: Lisa

Lisa has been visiting the Southeast Tacoma Nourish Food Bank for the last five or six months.

She and her husband care for two of their aging parents, who have moved in with them. “There are four of us here now. Things are tight but we are trying to get through it.” One of their parents has a long-term medical issue that requires frequent doctor visits, the other is suffering from dementia, Lisa explained.

Lisa cleans houses and she works whenever she can, but, she has lost a few clients recently and she has been busy taking her family members to medical appointments. Her husband works full-time building and repairing cell phone towers. She said they are trying to support everyone in the house on just one income. “It’s hard to make ends meet without the food bank.”

Experiences like Lisa’s, where a family member is caring for aging parents, is becoming more common. According to the Pew Research Center, one in seven adults provide unpaid care for other adults in their lives.

Lisa first found the food bank when a friend brought her to visit when she needed help. Now, she gives other people a ride when they need it, so they can get help too. “God put us on this earth to care for and help one another.” She says the food bank is truly helping people right now. “You are a true blessing to people.”