Team Spotlight: Abby Herrick

Meet Abby our Satellite Pantry Coordinator! She works tirelessly each week to make sure our North Seattle College and Magnuson Park pantries are stocked and staffed. These pantries are a vital resource to those neighborhoods and expands our reach further in the community. 

All About Abby!

  1. Hometown: Albuquerque, NM
  2. First concert: New York Philharmonic?
  3. Coffee or Tea: Coffee for sure, but I love a good London Fog.
  4. Favorite Pizza Topping/s: Can’t go wrong with Margherita.
  5. Favorite Place to take out-of-towners in Seattle: The Bainbridge Island ferry 

What is your school and work background? 

I graduated from undergraduate at Whitman College in 2021 with a degree in music, and have worked with symphonies and music nonprofits in Washington and Albuquerque, New Mexico, as well as canvassing for Environment New Mexico and working at a Walla Walla Valley winery.

When did you start at University District Food Bank? 

I started in October of 2022 through Americorps and recently became hired on as a full time staff member.

What is your role within the organization?

I coordinate our two satellite pantries, at North Seattle College and Magnuson Park. These pantries allow us to feed more people in our community and those who can’t make it to our U District location.

What is the most fulfilling aspect of your work?

The most fulfilling aspect of my work is getting to see how people care for their community and being a part of this wonderful community!

What would you like our community to know about the Food Bank?

Since I started at the food bank a year ago, the number of people I serve at our satellite pantries has grown markedly, and we need more support than ever. But I also want to take a minute to thank all our volunteers and donors from the bottom of my heart – there is absolutely no way I could do my job without my weekly volunteers at both pantries and at the main food bank, and I am so grateful!

Meet Lena our Food Access Program Coordinator

Lena Kabeshita is one of the Food Bank’s three new team members who came to us through our partnership with AmeriCorps. She joined us in October 2021 to manage our two satellite pantries at North Seattle College and Mercy Magnuson and is such an important part of the work we do for the north Seattle community!

Originally from Illinois, Lena was living and interning in Yakima before coming to Seattle. She is a recent college graduate with a major in soil and crop science and a minor in women and gender studies. 

What is your role at the Food Bank?

I am the Pantry Program Coordinator and I manage our two offsite pantries – North Seattle College on Tuesday nights and Mercy Magnuson place on Wednesday afternoons. I’m responsible for ordering food for the pantries, bringing the food over to each pantry and making sure they are running smoothly. I also coordinate 8-12 volunteers per week to help run the pantries.

Why were these satellite pantries created?

The satellite pantries pre-date the pandemic and were created to serve areas of need in North Seattle where there’s not a food bank nearby or affordable grocery stores. The North Seattle College Pantry was intended to support food insecure students at the college, but it has expanded beyond the student community and grown overall to fill a need among additional North Seattle households. In January 2022 we served 50 student households, 9 staff households, and 98 community member households. 

We purchase food specifically for these pantries each week, then set up and break down on Tuesdays and Wednesdays but each runs a little differently. North Seattle College offers prepacked food in bags and then shoppers choose their protein with a drive-through and walk-up service style. Magnuson is more of a shopping model where guests walk through and choose what they want for the week.

How many families do you serve per week? 

In January at Magnuson we served 320 households for the month and in North Seattle we served 229 households for the month. I want to give a big shout out to the volunteers who dedicate time each week to support these pantries. Their work is invaluable, and I couldn’t operate without them!

One of our regular volunteers at our Magnuson pantry passed away in February. His name was John Tuttle and he had been volunteering at Magnuson for the last year. I want to thank him for all his hard work and dedication to our cause, he will be missed by all of us.