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Community celebrates renovations to turn Rainier Valley Food Bank into an expanded Community Food Hub

SEATTLE—Community members, guests, volunteers, staff and more gathered today to celebrate huge renovations that will turn the existing Rainier Valley Food Bank building into a vastly expanded Community Food Hub next year.

The renovations will help RVFB serve more people than ever in the area’s most racially, ethnically and economically diverse neighborhood with nutritious, culturally-relevant food and access to additional services from partners.

“Rainier Valley Food Bank has been on a journey for more than a decade,” said Executive Director Gloria Hatcher-Mays. “For much of that time, we could envision what our destination looked like—but our directions to get there were not very clear. Fast forward to today and look at what we have accomplished! We own a building in the heart of the community we love and serve. We are creating a food services hub that will reduce stress, create access to food and social services, and continue to build a welcoming community for all.”

The Community Food Hub will include:

A commercial kitchen to prepare warm meals, host classes, share culture and foster community

New storage space for abundant, culturally-relevant food

Grocery store-style distribution that will increase the capacity to serve, while allowing guests to shop for food they and their families need

A community garden to grow seasonal crops and forge connections

Gathering spaces to host partner organizations and reduce travel costs for our guests who currently access services in multiple locations

Each year Rainier Valley Food Bank serves more than 8,000 families and distributes 1.5 million pounds of food. At the height of the pandemic, staff and volunteers rallied to increase grocery deliveries fivefold and nearly double the number of families served by their weekend Backpack Program, services they continue to provide and expand today.

Food Services Manager Otis Pimpleton has worked at RVFB for 11 years. He’s seen the operation grow from a tiny 1,200 square-foot rented facility to the 10,000 square-foot building now being renovated.

“This new building is a place where we can bring together our values, time and resources to serve our guests with dignity, and to give our own lives meaning and purpose,” he said.

He and Hatcher-Mays spoke at the celebration, along with King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay and others.

The festivities included the ceremonial planting of a fruit cocktail tree, in honor of the nutrition RVFB provides and the growth it’s undergoing. The day also included a welcoming performance by the Mak Fai Chinese Lion Dancers and an honoring performance by Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth Theater.

Even as the pandemic has slowed, the need is great among the people RVFB serves:

One in four people in southeast Seattle is food insecure; the King County average is one in 10.

Nearly 80% of the children in the area RVFB serves qualify for free and reduced-price school meals (the district average is 33%).

Rainier Valley Food Bank’s Community Food Hub is slated to open in Fall 2025.

About Rainier Valley Food Bank

As the primary emergency food resource in Seattle’s most racially and economically diverse neighborhood, RVFB is a low-barrier provider, ensuring that anyone can access our services regardless of housing status, income, zip code, or immigration status. We don’t just want to hand guests bags of food. We provide them space to make choices in the food they provide for their family, and then we ask them what else they may need. We can’t do any of this without collaboration. From our service partners who join alongside us to provide wrap-around support, to the volunteers who work in partnership with us, and the local farms who provide our produce — ending hunger will take all of us.


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