Home Delivery: Meet our Customers

Home Delivery is one of our fastest growing programs at UDFB. The program began in 2010 to serve those in our community unable to access the food bank due to advancing age, medical condition, or physical disability. Participation in Home Delivery has doubled over the past three years. Thanks to our amazing volunteer drivers, we now serve 85 households on six different routes, delivering an estimated 1,400 pounds of food per week to our homebound customers in Northeast Seattle.

Will

Volunteer Home Delivery drivers

Will has been on Home Delivery for three years. He lives in low-income housing and has a limited budget to spend on food, in addition to medical problems that make it difficult for him to access a grocery store or food bank.

“The food I receive through Home Delivery has been really helpful in rounding out my weekly groceries, and has made a big difference in my diet.” He’s particularly noticed the increase of fresh, organic vegetables in his box these past few months, since the food bank started purchasing from Puget Sound Food Hub. “The extra produce has made me get creative with my cooking. Now I make a lot of soups and stews, and started putting greens in my smoothies.”

When I asked Will how UDFB has affected his life, he responded, “Home Delivery makes Wednesdays important. I focus on prepping and storing the food I receive, and then planning out how I’ll use items throughout the week.” Like many of our customers, Will is resourceful in finding recipes for some of the less glamorous vegetables. When he received kohlrabi in his box, he researched recipes and found simple, versatile ways to prepare it. “Having food delivered has been a godsend,” he says.

 

 

 

Randy

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Randy, a recipient of Home Delivery

Randy has been on Home Delivery for about a year. Randy is a disabled veteran who moved to Seattle from New Orleans five years ago. Randy stays true to his Cajun heritage through his love of cooking. As a participant in Cooking Matters classes through Solid Ground, Randy taught his peers how to make seafood jambalaya and gumbo.

“The Food Bank has been a real blessing, not just for me, but for all of us receiving boxes,” he says. Randy especially enjoys the fresh fruits and vegetables we are able to provide him with each week, and added that the choices are always improving. “Being on Home Delivery has been a positive experience,” he says. “I really appreciate the work the food bank has done.”

Farmers Market Vouchers

logoDid you know the food bank distributes $10,000 worth of Farmers Market vouchers to our customers each year? Through our partnership with the Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance (NFMA), every food bank customer is eligible to receive monthly vouchers equivalent to $6 during the peak growing season, or late June through the end of November, when the maximum amount of produce is available. Vouchers improve access to fresh, local produce to those who need it most, as well as supporting small-scale farmers in our community.  This program also allows us an opportunity to give back to the Farmers Market and thank them for their abundant food donations throughout the year.

UDFB has a longstanding relationship with the NFMA and has been gleaning leftover produce from the U District Market every Saturday since the market’s inception in 1993. This partnership is made strong by our amazing volunteers willing to help collect produce each weekend and our local farmers wanting to participate and give back. Each year, volunteers help us glean between 12-14,000 pounds of fresh vegetables from the market.

Farmers Market vouchers can be used at the U District, Capitol Hill Broadway, Columbia City, Lake City, Phinney, Magnolia, and West Seattle Farmers Markets. This offers flexibility to our customers by allowing them to shop at one of seven markets in the city which may be closer or more accessible to them than the food bank. Vouchers also offer a discreet and culturally appropriate way for our customers to make their own choices about food rather than being dependent on what the food bank has available on a given day. And their vouchers can be combined with food stamps and the bonus fresh bucks program to increase their buying power.

Anna Sparks, Outreach and Development Coordinator at NFMA, sees these vouchers as an important incentive to get people to come out to the market, and a way to support local food and farmers while expanding access to healthy food. We are so grateful for this important partnership with the Farmers Markets and look forward to future collaborations!

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