Spokane families struggle with food costs, food banks bracing for increase in need | Help Me Hayley

Spokane families struggle with food costs, food banks bracing for increase in need | Help Me Hayley

SPOKANE, Wash. — KHQ continues to partner with Northwest Harvest to help raise much needed funds and awareness when it comes to food insecurity. Our #FoodBucketChallenge is something anyone can become involved in.

Here are some facts about hunger in our region:

  • 1 million Washington residents visited a food bank in the past year.
  • One in 10 Washingtonians consistently struggle with hunger.
  • One in six Washington kids live in a household that faces challenges in putting enough food on the table.
  • One in eight Washingtonians live below the poverty line.
  • One in eight Washingtonians relies on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to purchase food. Half of all people on SNAP are kids.
  • Washington ranks 10th in the country in overall wealth—and ranks 34th in food insecurity.
  • A donation of $5 can feed a family of three.

Organizations like Northwest Harvest are crucial when it comes helping food banks in Spokane that directly distribute goods. Locations like ‘Our Place’ on College Ave say it takes a village.

“We rely on the community … individuals, organizations, churches, Northwest Harvest, 2nd Harvest, to keep us going,” Executive Director Tracie Swanson said. “We’re expecting to see more people [in need] as we hit summer.”

Moms like Sharlene say they are not surprised to hear resources like Our Place are bracing for a spike in those they serve. She says it is becoming stressful for her family, and many others, to make ends meet.

“I see a lot of families who were at one point perfectly able to get food on the table and are now having a really hard time with it,” she said. “I work full time. My older daughter started working full time too, but between the two of us [pitching in] we still can only get the basic necessities that last about a week.”

She says she’s been forced to continually rework her budget.

“Once you add the cost of fuel to get to work, the store, and to run errands, it all adds up,” she said” And that [gas] money has to come out of my food money.”

But that’s where spots like Our Place come in.

“I can go on [distribution days] after I get off work,” she said of the convenience with Our Place. “I really enjoy that you get to go pick out what you want [at Our Place.]”

And while the need is greater than ever these days, donations both physical, monetary and time, keep it all going. Swanson wants anyone out there going through tough times to know there are people out there who care.

“That is our mission, to treat people with respect and dignity,” she said.

If you’re looking for an easy way to give back and help people with food insecurity this summer, you can visit the Food Bucket Challenge page!