Who We Are
Bringing Food and Hope to Our Neighbors…
Ballard Food Bank’s mission is to bring food and hope to our neighbors...because there can be enough for everyone. To achieve our mission, we provide access to nutritious foods and services that support self-sufficiency through our food bank, home delivery, and weekend food for kids program, as well as our emergency financial assistance program.
Access to Nutritious Foods
Ballard Food Bank distributes food to over 1,200 individuals once per week. Individuals and families who find themselves living below the poverty level must have their needs met. For Ballard Food Bank, too often these are clients who are homeless (19%), seniors/older adults (26%) and children (18%). Our food bank program is based on a grocery store model. Clients use shopping carts as they move through the food bank area. Our dedicated volunteers help throughout the shopping experience from checking clients in to helping clients bag groceries. We strive to treat our clients with dignity every time they enter the food bank, and we are committed to each individual’s right to choose the items that they want. In addition to our grocery store model, we offer a No-Cook line for clients who are homeless. Our hygiene area distributes personal hygiene items to families and individuals having difficulty in making ends meet, including homeless clients.
Our home delivery program provides grocery delivery to more than 80 elderly and disabled clients once per week. Recognizing that our home-based clients have very limited access to other resources, we work with these clients to provide food based on their dietary needs and we customize their bags accordingly.
Weekend Food for Students
Hungry children cannot concentrate, pay attention, or perform well in school. The nutrition provided by weekend backpack programs helps reduce this disparity among low-income students, and provides a healthier foundation for these children to learn and succeed in school.
Ballard Food Bank's Weekend Food For Kids Program reaches students at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in our service area of Ballard, Magnolia, and Queen Anne. Our program started in 2012, serving 15 students at Whitman Middle School, and by the end of the 2013-2014 school year, we were serving nearly 150 students in 11 schools each week. We distributed 19,764 lbs. of food to students over the school year. This program is a collaborative effort between food bank staff and volunteers, school staff, and parent volunteers.
By building strong partnerships with school staff and volunteers, we are able to reach students who are food insecure. School staff, teachers and family members identify students who would benefit from weekend meals. Each week, school personnel or volunteers discreetly distribute bags of food to students in need.
Resources and Referrals to Self-Sufficiency
While direct food services are at the core of our mission, our referral services program supports clients with financial assistance and provides resource referrals to help them achieve self-sufficiency. Clients living in the 98107, 98117, 98177, 98109, 98119 and 98199 zip codes can receive a basic level of emergency financial assistance for eviction notices, utility shut-offs, or lost IDs. Our resource area includes information geared towards achieving self-sufficiency. Volunteers provide referral services to help those in difficult situations find the appropriate agency to receive assistance. Our staff provides mail services to homeless clients, which is essential when looking for employment and housing, or communicating with other care providers and family.