The Volunteers of America of Western Washington has been helping to distribute additional food to county food banks as need has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"VOAWW, in partnership with Food Lifeline and the National Guard, has been receiving 500 pallets of food a week to address Covid19-related needs facing Snohomish County residents," said Brian Smith, chief operating officer of the Volunteers of America of Western Washington.
That food goes to the Snohomish County's Food Bank Coalition, which includes the local Marysville Community Food Bank and Arlington Community Food Bank, as well as 16 other food banks.
"The Marysville and Arlington Food banks have always been amazing partners in this and we are grateful to be able to step of our efforts to support them," said Smith.
Beginning on May 15 the VOAWW entered a six-month lease of the former Arlington Haggen's building so that the organization can receive more food and distribute it out quickly.
"In order to accommodate this massive increase in goods we have leased a 64,000 square foot facility in Arlington to house all of it," said Smith.
The new building has helped their supply line run smoother.
"We are have significantly increased the amount of food and pallets going to the Snohomish County Food Bank Coalition, as well as developing new delivery routes," said Smith.
"Social service agencies are picking up pallets directly from the warehouse and we are working to develop a drive through model in various locations throughout the county," he said.
Food banks locally and nationally have seen large increases in demand as families have lost income from jobs during the coronavirus stay-at-home orders.
"COVID-19 has devastated countless families from all walks of life," said Smith.
"Having food on the table is a basic human right and we are doing what we can to address that need brought on by this epidemic," he said.
The VOAWW is also seeing rises in demand for some of their other services as well.
"We're are seeing an immense increase in the need for rent and utility assistance. While the moratorium on evictions has been wonderful, many families are fearing the massive expenses that await them when this is over," said Smith.
"We have been working diligently to pay those bills now for residents so that the burden is significantly lessened," he said.
The VOAWW plans to continue delivering food to local food banks throughout the crisis.
"Snohomish County residents are an extremely resilient group of people. We are seeing so much community support and this, coupled with groups like our local food banks, give me a lot of hope for our future," said Smith.