Bellingham Food Bank
Bellingham Food Bank provides free groceries to residents in Bellingham and Whatcom County. In addition, they assist with paying bills, Christmas presents, and Thanksgiving turkeys and assist with public assistance applications.
Bellingham Food Bank remains open during COVID-19, offering pre-packed food boxes that residents may visit twice weekly.
The Food Bank operates two distribution sites in Bellingham: Christ the King Church and Alderwood Elementary School. Both locations are open Monday through Friday from 12:30-3:00 pm and on Wednesday evenings from 5:00-to 7:00 pm, with their busiest days typically being Fridays nearing the end of every month when people tend to arrive late and encounter long lines. They advise arriving earlier if possible to avoid standing in lines.
The operation boasts a staff of 10 and more than 150 monthly volunteers, and it is open to all Whatcom County residents with proof that they reside within Bellingham’s postmark. Families may visit twice every week, shopping twice for about $70 worth of food every time – this comes from various sources such as donations and food rescue programs; local grocery stores such as Haggen, Trader Joe’s, and Price Chopper all participate by donating nearly expired or just-expired foods through its grocery recovery program.
The organization also collaborates with eight other hunger relief programs in the Bellingham metropolitan area. Together, these eight organizations employ 63 people and generate over $12 million in annual revenues; their services include mobile food distribution, community meals, online cooking classes, and seed-to-table education; school gardens are another community initiative they participate in and food entrepreneurship. They all form part of the Washington Food Coalition (WFC), representing more than 300 hunger relief agencies from Walla Walla to Moses Lake and Bellingham to Seattle.
The food bank welcomes donations of both money and food. Monetary contributions are used to purchase discounted food supplies, while many local grocery stores (Haggen, Trader Joe’s, and Price Chopper) donate nearly-expired or nearly-expired bread and pastries directly. In addition, The Small Potatoes Gleaning Project rescues produce from nearby farms for distribution via our food bank; individuals and organizations also make generous gifts.
Bellingham Food Bank is a warehouse for over a dozen smaller food pantries in Whatcom County. Every Monday, Food Lifeline’s Hunger Solution Center in Shoreline sends an enormous load of produce and other shelf-stable pantry items directly to Bellingham Food Bank; then, on Monday morning, they redistribute it among 18 small pantries and meal programs across Island and Whatcom Counties who lack funds, trucks or staff needed to secure their supply.
The food bank recognizes and meets its visitors’ varied and changing needs by constantly striving to enhance its offerings and ensure an accessible shopping experience. They have added more culturally appropriate food items while sourcing with an equity lens and eliminated most household limits so shoppers can determine their individual “needs” on each visit.
Bellingham is an idyllic town known for its friendly residents, crisp air quality, and scenic Puget Sound views – yet many families in Bellingham struggle with hunger. At the Bellingham Food Bank, we aim to address this problem by serving quality foods from reliable vendors while networking effectively and standing against racism.
Volunteers are needed to assist operations at the Bellingham Food Bank warehouse. Furthermore, specially equipped trucks travel to communities with limited access to food assistance programs, where volunteers must set up distribution sites, guide families through check-in procedures, and load their vehicles with pre-packed meals and groceries.
Small Potatoes Gleaning Project provides a much-needed link between surplus produce that would otherwise go to waste and hungry families in Whatcom County. Volunteers gather fruits and vegetables from farms, home orchards, gardens, and vendors at weekly farmers’ markets.
Bellingham may be known as a welcoming college town, but that doesn’t mean families living here don’t struggle with feeding themselves. There are multiple food banks located within Bellingham that provide meals, groceries, and other basic needs to those in need – these programs are operated by churches, community organizations, and charities in the area and may offer counseling and assistance with applying for government aid programs like SNAP or Medicare; some even provide facilities where senior residents can assemble for group meals, take field trips and learn budget shopping techniques.
Once a week, Cornwall Church and Grace Church volunteers provide free food in Bellingham through “Salt on the Street.” A food truck parks at each church’s side parking lot and distributes meals, clothing, hygiene items, and gospel literature while giving presentations about its ministry.
Small Potatoes Gleaning Project provides a valuable service in Whatcom County by connecting fresh produce that would otherwise go to waste with needy families. Volunteers glean vegetables and fruits from farms, home orchards, gardens, and weekly farmers markets in Whatcom County – then deliver this fresh produce directly to local communities in need. They even have a mobile pantry serving Bellingham and Ferndale, and other areas throughout Whatcom County!