North Helpline loses a quarter of their food donations with the closing of Sam's Club

Friday, January 19, 2018

Number of clients served in 2016, versus 2017, by ZIP code
at North Helpline's two food banks

By Diane Hettrick

North Helpline 12736 33th Ave NE, Seattle 98125 is a social services agency in Lake City which serves the entire north end with emergency services and food.

We work to make sure our neighbors have food on the table and a roof overhead.

In 2017, realizing the need, they opened a second food bank by Bitter Lake to serve the western half of the area. This greatly increased the number of clients served to almost 1700 a week.

Our Food Bank provides food and other basic essentials to those experiencing hunger or food insecurity during four weekly distributions.

North Helpline finished 2017 strong with successful end of the year fundraising while keeping up with the need during the holiday season.


In the first few weeks of 2018, they were struck a body blow: the closing of Sam's Club.

Last year they picked up over 350,000 pounds of donated food from Sam's Club. Most of that food was fresh, healthy food. This accounted for almost a quarter of their food donations.

Sam's Club was part of their Grocery Rescue program, where they 'rescued' (picked up) food that the grocery stores were going to throw away. They used to visit Sam's Club three times a week.

Our clients have benefited so much from the Sam's Club donations as they donate a lot of meat. We were happy to be able to give out 3 lbs of meat per person! With the loss of Sam's Club, that will, unfortunately, have to change. We will also have a lot less produce.

They hope to contact a few new stores and increase monetary donations so they can buy more meat and produce to fill the need.

They will need community support to increase their food purchasing budget. Donate here.

They will also need additional weekly grocery rescue volunteers as they take on more stores.

In addition to this, the volunteer break room refrigerator stopped working and a van broke down.

If you or anyone you know has a refrigerator or van looking for a good home please let us know.

Contact Kelly Brown, Executive Director



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