It has always been about neighbors caring for neighbors.
A group of concerned people started the Food Bank in 1981, to make sure that neighbors in need did not go hungry. Back then we were called the Junction Community Food Bank (JCFB) and we distributed food from the old Jefferson School– now the site of a Safeway. Without a permanent home the Food Bank moved many times, operating out of churches and schools. Then in 1989 we finally were able to lease a site on SW Genesee near Fauntleroy and settled in there for the next 18 years.
During this time, there was another agency, called the West Seattle Food Bank, which was located in the Highpoint neighborhood. When they closed in 1998 due to financial troubles, we started distributing food to that area and also picked up their home delivery program. In 1999, the JCFB changed its name to the West Seattle Food Bank (WSFB) to better reflect the larger community we were serving.
We were now serving thousands of people a year out of our small leased Geneseesite. But there was no place for clients to get out of the rain and cold while waiting to get food, and we couldn’t take full advantage of bulk shipments because of inadequate space. The dream of a permanent home where we could serve our clients with dignity and increase the range and amount of food to distribute was always present.
Then we got an unexpected and large bequest from the estate of a man named Earl Vic and our dreams of becoming a greater resource for the West Seattle community came closer to reality. We teamed up with the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association (DNDA) and in 2002 launched the Three Projects/One Community capital campaign. Mr. Vic’s generous gift was the seed for the campaign which would ultimately raise funds to build the West Seattle Community Resource Center; Croft Place Townhomes and the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center.
The WSFB distributed food for the first time in its new location on May 1st 2007. We have a spacious lobby for clients to wait in, an office designated for visiting providers, a larger cooler and freezer, and increased space for storage of food, diapers and baby supplies, and other items. We also lease space to other non-profit agencies helping low-income community members including:
- Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association - managing the 34 low-income apartments located in the building.
- Wellspring Family Services of Seattle/King County – providing eviction prevention and case management for families transitioning from homelessness.
- The West SeattleHelpline – offering financial and resource assistance to low-income working families.
- African Community Economic Development – offering academic enrichment, career counseling and other services to improve opportunities for the African refugee and immigrant community.