Joining the Fight Against Poverty

By United Way of King County, on February 24, 2015 | In Volunteering

We’re thrilled to introduce you to our new in-house VISTA team! We’re so excited for their journey as Volunteers In Service To America. You’ll be hearing from them more and more as they share with us their experience in joining us in the fight against poverty.

Ayako-Shapiro-United-Way-VISTAHi! My name is Ayako Shapiro and I recently moved here from upstate NY to join this exciting group of VISTAs. I’ve been fortunate to have nutritious food consistently in my life and as a result I want to fight to ensure that people have food security and the same opportunities I’ve had. Having worked this past summer at a food bank in Tokyo, I found it particularly interesting when we took a visit to the Pike Place Food Bank.

The food bank was tucked away in the bustling maze of the market and was already filled with people in line waiting to receive food when we arrived. Brian, the head of the food bank, happily greeted us and spoke to us about how the food bank functions. We learned about where their funding comes from, the rising rates of hunger and how food is distributed.

They are incredibly busy:

  • They serve about 525 families and individuals each week
  • They get 27,000 visits each year
  • They provide over 500,000 pounds of food to their Pike Place community
  • All this accomplished in the 2 days a week they are open (Tues and Thurs 10-1). Incredible!

They rely on a core group of volunteers and depend mostly on word of mouth to maintain them. There are only 2 paid staff members at the food bank and that includes Brian! He stressed to us the importance of volunteering there to fully understand the impact and the incredible necessity for the services the food bank provides. So if you’re interested here’s how you can volunteer with them.

Many homeless people come to the food bank, but most of the food given out requires a kitchen to prepare and these clients clearly do not have access to one. I asked if they had any pre-prepared foods to distribute but they don’t at this time but are hopeful they will in the future. He shared with us how having food, like sandwiches, available to give out would provide a hearty substantial meal for them.

Brian’s passion and enthusiasm toward Pike Place Food Bank’s work in the community was tangible and certainly made us all want to volunteer in the future.

I’m excited to start serving with United Way in fighting against hunger and poverty.

Interested what other VISTA’s are doing? Check out their posts.


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