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Mayor calls on residents to donate to local food banks
Mayor Mike McGinn today called on Seattle residents to donate food, money and volunteer time to local food banks, which are facing the double whammy of increasing numbers of clients and declining food donations.
Speaking at the Pike Market Food Bank in downtown Seattle, the Mayor said, "As families and individuals struggle to make ends meet in a difficult economy, we want to make sure that no one goes hungry in Seattle."
According to the Seattle Food Committee, in the last five years, Seattle food banks have seen a 25 percent rise in the number of clients coming to them for help. At the same time a recent report on hunger and homelessness by the U.S. Conference of Mayors shows a 31 percent decline in the amount of food donations in the area.
Those donations are urgently needed. The most needed items include protein (canned tuna, chicken, peanut butter), canned fruits and vegetables, fruit juices, grains (pasta, rice, macaroni), meals in a can (canned stews, chili), soups (beef stew, chili, chicken noodle,), and multigrain cereal (Cheerios, Cornflakes, Grapenuts, Raisin Bran).
Financial donations are also key and enable food banks to bulk purchase the items they need most as well as keep their lights on, their delivery trucks running, and their refrigeration systems in operation.
The City of Seattle has stepped up to help. The Seattle Human Services Department funds meal, food bank, food distribution, and emergency food systems support programs to help people who are homeless, homebound or have low incomes. The Mayor's Proposed Budget for 2013-2014, preserves funding for emergency food. City-funded programs include:
"As the holidays approach the need is especially acute," said Dannette Smith, director of the Seattle Human Services Department. "But food banks and food programs need your help throughout the year."