Volunteers cart fresh bread into the Tukwila Pantry, Tukwila. WA, on Thursday, October 20, 2011. The pantry provides monthly food bank services to individuals and families in cities of Tukwila, SeaTac, Burien and the Boulevard Park community. Congregate meal service is held each Tuesday at their location in the Riverton Park United Methodist Church. The church provides some funds, several large rooms, and outdoor operating space for the pantry’s food distribution, shipping container storage units, trailer, tents, shelters and refrigeration truck. The pantry's weekly Tuesday’s Table provides 150 hot meals to seniors, low-income families, homeless individuals and those in transition. Additionally, emergency referral services are provided to assist individuals connecting with agencies that can address their needs. Executive Director Joe Tice grew up in Tukwila and feels compelled to give back to economically challenged community of 25,000 families in 3,000 households. “Since the pantry’s founding in 2000, census figures show poverty has risen 300%,” said Joe Tice. “85-95% of elementary school children are enrolled in SNAP (U.S. Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).” At the pantry’s height, it delivered 3.8 million pounds of food (2009), but with the economic downturn Tice projects 2011 deliveries to total 2.6 million pounds. Tice considers Tukwila Pantry as one of the smaller distribution points in the greater Seattle area. Some canned and dry goods are provided by
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) a Federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income needy persons, including elderly people, by providing them with emergency food and nutrition assistance. A significant amount of the pantry’s food comes through Northwest Harvest, Washington's only nonprofit statewide food bank distributor; and Food Lifeline, the largest nonprofit food distributor in the state who solicit, receive, and distribute over 24 million meals of food to nearly 700,000 people through our network of 300+ food banks (such as Tukwila Pantry), shelters and meal programs. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.