Day in the Life: Kailin

image(3)Kailin is our Operations Manager and is responsible for food recovery from our partner grocery stores. Wednesday is her busiest day for pick-ups, so I accompanied her on her route which includes U Village QFC, Wedgewood QFC, Wedgewood Safeway, Viewridge PCC, and the Roosevelt Trader Joes.

Kailin has established a good rapport with each store’s employees and knows many of them by name. They recognize her immediately as we walk in, say hello, and direct us to different parts of the stock room and freezer where donations of meat, produce, bread, dairy, and nonperishable items have been set aside. “There’s a whole cart full of strawberries for you in the back!” one produce employee excitedly reports.

Kailin has found that when employees are aware and understanding of our work at the Food Bank, they become more conscientious of setting aside donations for us and ensuring better quality control. I can barely keep up as she dashes around to each department, effortlessly lifting 50 pound boxes of produce into shopping carts. We also check the stores’ donation bins which are emptied weekly and then load up our refrigerated van with all the donations and head back to the Food Bank.

The pickups are often unpredictable and she’s never sure exactly how much will be available at each store. Her days are also full of surprises, like when a store’s cooling system broke down and they called her to come pick up the entire contents of their coolers immediately. No matter the situation, Kailin takes everything in stride with a positive, enthusiastic attitude and expert van maneuvering skills. We are so thankful for Kailin and all of our partner grocery stores!

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P-Patch: Roosevelt

image (3)The produce section of the Food Bank will soon feature fresh rhubarb, colorful leaves of swiss chard, and sharp, lemony sorrel. These will be the first of the bounty of crops grown for us from the Roosevelt P-Patch Giving Gardens this season. The Roosevelt P-Patch Community Garden, located on 12th Ave and 71st St., is home to one of several giving gardens where vegetables are grown for our Food Bank. Last year they donated 143 pounds of produce for our customers.

The Roosevelt P-Patch began 11 years ago when surrounding neighbors wrote a grant to the City of Seattle to convert the previously blighted space into a community garden. Along with the contributions of an anonymous donor and a core group of 10 nearby residents, the P-Patch was born. This group began the initial work of digging trenches for water lines, building a toolshed, and creating raised beds. According to Renee Davis, Giving Garden Coordinator at Roosevelt, the development of the giving gardens has been a real community effort.

Maple Leaf Ace Hardware Store has donated hoses and offers a 10% discount on all supplies purchased for the gardens. The Roosevelt Whole Foods provided meals during work parties last year and has consistently served as a great sponsor in expanding the giving gardens. This year, Renee has switched over from raised beds to large metal feed tanks for the giving gardens because they are sturdier and easy to maintain. The majority of plant starts are donated by Solid Ground and seeds are provided by the P-Patch program. This season, Renee plans to grow beets, bush beans, snap peas, lettuce heads, squash, and more.

During the growing season (May – early October), Renee harvests produce and delivers it to the Food Bank once or twice a week. Renee has learned that if people live too far away from the garden, they eventually stop coming so the P-Patch works best when it’s part of the neighborhood. “It’s a great way to get out of our houses, see each other, and cross this busy street,” she says. “The garden also gives us a sense of accomplishment when we feel like we are making a difference.”

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