Demand for food assistance in Snohomish County higher than at any point in pandemic, nonprofit says

Volunteers of America Western Washington (VOAWW), which helps supply 17 food banks in the Snohomish County Food Bank Coalition, said it is experiencing a “dire need” for donations of food and funding due to inflation.

Food banks across Snohomish County are scrambling to meet demand as requests for food and the numbers of drop-in clients have reached record levels, the organization said.

“We have not seen this many people come to us for help ever, even during the height of the pandemic in 2020 or 2021,” says Chris Hatch, senior director of hunger prevention at VOAWW. “We’ve seen a 138% increase in Everett since just April, and we cannot keep up.”

Inflation, along with donor and compassion fatigue, have created a perfect storm for nonprofits engaged in preventing hunger and food insecurity, the VOAWW said. Higher price tags for food items have eroded bulk purchasing power. Sources of funding that helped launch an unprecedented ramping up of food distribution in the past two years have begun to dry up. Donations of food and funds are down as people, governments and businesses tighten and adjust their budgets. And while food banks traditionally have focused on individuals and families that make lower incomes, clients from dual- and middle-income households have been coming for help more and more – many for the first time in their lives.

“We’ve heard the word ‘crisis’ tossed around a lot, but this really is a crisis,” said Steve Corsi, president and CEO of VOAWW. “People are hurting and hungry in our communities, and we’re running lower on resources. It’s challenging, and it’s starting to keep me up at night.”

Hatch said that if the current trajectory holds, VOAWW and other food banks may be forced to cut back on services and limit access to only those who can demonstrate the most need. “People are going to be turned away and going hungry if something doesn’t change soon,” Hatch said. “I am not OK with that.”

Donations to local food banks are encouraged. Donations to VOAWW’s Distribution Center, which provides food to 17 food banks and 18 meal programs across Snohomish County, can be made at by selecting “Food Bank – Distribution Center” under the “Donate To” category on the dropdown menu. Businesses that are interested in assisting VOAWW should contact Jessica Moore at 425-212-5320 or at

  1. Well this has been up for hours now. I see no Likes and no comments. SO this tells me that donor and compassion fatigue and inflation are probably a big factor. I find it a bit odd that we have the VOAWW saying people are starving yet we sell tremendous amounts of home grown vegetables and a variety of other things at our markets both uphill and in the bowl. SO maybe we should be giving that food?? I don’t know but just a thought.
    I have spoken to the produce managers at local chain grocery stores in Edmonds and asked what becomes of food (produce) not sold but very edible? THEY said they make us throw it away. I said well can’t at least the staff take it and was told absolutely not. SO how about we address these chains as produce or meat that may say last day is still good as is produce a bit beyond perfect. It is better then starving right?
    This is activist Deb saying Call out these chains and tell them we need their food. Make it loud make it clear. AND Whole Foods and PCC well pretty Liberal Group there…Also what do restaurants here do with their left over greens and meats and all? Just a thought since no one else seems to like the idea of giving the VOAWW any more money etc.. or food. We would prefer to give food right to the hands of the people. I used to make sandwiches and take them to Seattle and a pocket full of dollar bills. I was told no $ so I continued with the sandwiches I made at home and people on the street liked them. We have a budget the last two months we are over budget as food is ridiculously high even at the Left type stores. No compassion from retail…no compassion from private sector I guess. So I better start making some sandwiches…

    1. Thanks for your comments. I buy groceries from certain markets and bring them to a couple of food banks. I’ve found amazing deals – like full packages of romaine lettuce for a dollar, grapes for a dollar a pound, etc. I may get about 3 bags of groceries and maybe spend $10.00 or $15.00 on an amazing amount of food. It’s uplifting for me as well as the recipients. Seek and ye shall find, knock, and the doors shall be opened, ask, and it shall be given, and the Love comes a tumbling down.

  2. Deb, what you have written is not true and extremely unfair of you to say this. Just as a shopper at QFC and PCC I have seen different food banks making pick ups at both of these stores usually very early in the morning when I shop. They are very involved in our community. So keep making your sandwiches, but please do your research before making untrue accusations! There are many local businesses involved in feeding people as well as community HOA’s and businesses who collect huge amounts of food with “food drives” several times a year.

    1. Listen. I speak the truth. THIS is what I was told by the produce manager a few years back at QFC. About the throwing away of food. I am glad they are now doing something different it seems from what you said at QFC. I don’t shop at PCC. But I am also glad they are giving. I guess things have changed as far as their past policies. BUT I am not a liar and I do not appreciate being called one either Theresa. What I said was maybe the markets here in town as people shop they should buy extra and take to the Food Banks etc. Apparently though it is not enough or they wouldn’t have said people are starving. I have donated canned goods etc when I saw places taking donations many times. I have donated Clothing instead of using consignment stores to make money on them too. Infact I have donated many things thru Habitat for humanity and GOOD will when they would come and take many things. I will not take things to them for resale. I often leave things in my drive way too and they are taken immediately. I could sell these things as I don’t give or sell junk on Ebay etc. But I choose to give. I do not have a truck to transport etc. I am older as is my husband and it is not possible for us to lift some things we have given thru many years. I do not go to the markets to buy produce I buy at grocery stores or other markets. Reason I am too compromised to be in those crowds. Covid is still very much alive here and if I get it even after being vaccinated I will probably die. SO there you have it. Again I am glad to see QFC where I used to shop on 100th is now giving produce and such. Goodbye.

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