Serving Food and Dignity

Kelly is like many members of her generation. She works two jobs and has a difficult time making ends meet.

Unlike many others, Kelly is not only supporting herself but also her mother and father, and is helping put her brother through college.

“At the end of every month – when my bills are paid and their bills are paid – I may have as much as $30 left,” Kelly says. “Without the food bank we’d be in so much trouble.”

Food is but one consideration for the 40-year-old landscaper. Her mother suffers from lymphoma and lives in a house with no electricity (heat is from a wood stove). Her father has Alzheimer’s disease. And we’ve all heard what a burden tuition bills can be.

“I’m making it this way,” Kelly says of her trips to the food bank, “I’m lucky, this is helping a lot.”

Kelly says she focuses on meats and dried beans to create stews that can last up to a week. On her food bank trips she also admits to picking up two of her guilty pleasures – mac and cheese and cereal. Those are two items she would otherwise forego in order to provide for the rest of her family.

Kelly says she had tried other food banks in the past but she found Nourish Pierce County to be uniquely welcoming.

“I’m actually allowed to be a person here,” she says. “I get smiles and feel I’m treated with dignity.”

At other agencies she says she was grilled about her income which she admits may look too high for nutritional aid until one takes into account her other responsibilities.

She is quick to smile and announce that her brother will graduate from college soon. Once that financial load is lifted, she is ready to give back to those who helped her.

“It’ll get easier, then I can pay some of it back,” she says. “I’ll volunteer for the food bank, do repairs or landscaping or whatever they need.”

-Chris Fruitrich, retired journalist and food bank volunteer

Nourish is Seeking AmeriCorps Member for 2018-2019

Food Bank Volunteer Coordinator AmeriCorps Member, Position Description

Nourish Pierce County is currently looking for a Food Bank Volunteer Coordinator in partnership with AmeriCorps. This position will assist in the recruitment, training, and retention of volunteers at the Southeast Tacoma Food Bank, assuring that all volunteers are able to carry out Nourish Pierce County’s mission of providing nutritious food and support services to people in need with compassion, dignity and respect.

Volunteers are essential in the day to day function of Nourish Pierce County. Without volunteers Nourish Pierce County would not able to serve 70,000 clients, distribute 6.5 million pounds of food, or provide enough food for 4.7 million meals annually. The Volunteer Coordinator position will be responsible for coordinating all elements of volunteer management at the Southeast Tacoma Food Bank including the recruitment, placement, training, and retention of volunteers.

Food Bank Volunteer Coordinator Responsibilities

  • The Volunteer Coordinator will recruit, train, and manage volunteers at the Southeast Tacoma Nourish Food Bank.
  • The Volunteer Coordinator will track volunteer hours, process volunteer applications, schedule and implement continuous volunteer orientations. Orientations may be held at the Southeast Tacoma Nourish Food Bank, or at another Food Bank within the Nourish Pierce County Food Bank Network.
  • The Volunteer Coordinator will collaborate with the Food Bank Manager to welcome, orientate, place, and train new volunteers.
  • This position will serve alongside current volunteers to ensure the Food Bank is stocked and prepared for service, as well as ensuring that the Food Bank shelves are replenished as needed throughout the period of service.
  • This position will also collaborate with the Volunteer Program Coordinator to institute a new volunteer database to be used by new and existing volunteers.

Food Bank Volunteer Coordinator Desired Qualities

  • Dedicated to community service
  • Excellent customer service
  • Compassionate
  • Inquisitive
  • Collaborative
  • Relationship oriented
  • Open minded
  • Full of initiative
  • Excited to work with a diverse volunteer and client base
  • Adaptable to change

Food Bank Volunteer Coordinator Requirements

  • Some College
  • Ability to lift 40 lbs.
  • Demonstrated computer and written literacy
  • Demonstrated organizational skills
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Volunteer experience preferred
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Ability to pass AmeriCorps Background Check

Addition AmeriCorps Member Duties and Responsibilities

WSC members may be deployed to help support disaster response and/or recovery efforts. Sponsor organizations must agree to release Members for short term duration to assist with these efforts. Deployment may be waived if it presents undue hardship for an individual member. All deployments would be requested by the WSC unless your host organization is a disaster response organization where any requests for deployment would require initial approval by the WSC.

Salary and Benefits

This is a 40 hour per week position for the 10.5 month. Stipend and benefits are provided by Washington Srevice Corps (AmeriCorps) and is contingent on federal funding.

  • Living stipend of $1,202.86 per month provided by WSC.
  • Subsidized childcare available, provided by GAP Solutions Inc. (if qualified)
  • Health Insurance
  • Student loan forbearance (on qualifying loans)
  • $5,920  Education Award provided by National Service Trust (upon successful completion of 10.5 month term of service and 1700 hours of service)

 To Apply:

Please send Resume and Cover Letter to Nourish Pierce County, or 1702 S 72nd ST, Ste E, Tacoma, WA 98408, applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

Your Donation Changes Lives

The Reality of Hunger 

Debbie tears up when she talks about her trips to the Nourish Pierce County food bank. “It’s just temporary … just temporary,” she says.

She and her husband recently suffered through a series of difficulties and suddenly found themselves not able to make ends meet. “Since I lost my job, we’re on one income for five people,” Debbie says. She was working in a warehouse and making a decent wage, but physical limitations and trying to “keep up with the kids” left her out in the cold.

Adding to the woes, both her car and her husband’s died on their way to work just a few weeks apart. After 12 years without car payments, they now have two.

“If it wasn’t for the food bank, we would have to decide between food and paying our expenses,” Debbie says. “This is a godsend. What we get here lets us know we are going to have enough food to last you a week or so.”

Debbie says she likes coming to the food bank, not only for the food but for the company – both food bank volunteers and the fellow clients. “It’s a nice community,” she says, “We always talk and when somebody’s not here we worry about them or try to find out what’s happening and if we can help.”

“And the people in the food bank make you feel welcome. Not like you’re some kind of loser,” she says.

Debbie walks the walk about her food bank friendships. Shortly after she walked away from this interview she took off her scarf so her friend’s dog could be sheltered against the nasty cold.

-Chris Fruitrich, retired journalist and food bank volunteer

Thank you for giving generously to help the hungry in Pierce County.