If no state budget is approved, food banks will not receive funds from the state to help keep doors open and shelves stocked. That’s the message we received this week. Deadline for avoiding a government shutdown is July 1.
Our neighbors who come to the Southeast Tacoma FISH Food Bank would be seriously affected. Many are hard-working families with multiple jobs who struggle to make ends meet. We serve thousands of active military personnel and veterans. Nearly 40 percent of clients are children ages 0-18. In fact, Southeast Tacoma FISH serves more people than any other in Pierce County, providing nutritious food to more than 210,000 in 2014 alone.
Although only 1 percent of our funding comes from the state, it is a vital and irreplaceable source of nourishing food for families in need.
Summer is busy at the food bank. Families have more mouths to feed and no school lunches. No state support would put food banks and families in a difficult situation.
We urge the Legislature to make Washington families a priority by funding anti-hunger programs and meeting basic education funding obligations. Hungry families need the support of state legislators now.
(Beaudoin is director of operations for FISH Food Banks of Pierce County, manager of the Southeast Tacoma FISH Food Bank and board member of the Washington State Food Coalition.)