Tri-Cities Food Bank adjusts to ‘new normal’

Food Bank

KENNEWICK, Wash. — The Tri-Cities Food Bank is one of the many nonprofit organizations having to adjust to a nationwide pandemic.

“We’re trying to be very flexible,” said VJ Meadows, executive director of the Tri-Cities Food Bank. “This is a time most of us have never experienced, and we just have to stay ahead of the game as much as we can.”

They’re continuing to evaluate what changes or improvements they can make. Some of the adjustments they’ve already made include not allowing people inside the food banks. Masked and gloved volunteers handle the food and bring it outside. They also have started delivering food boxes to their senior clients so that they don’t have to leave their home. Any senior interested in having their crate delivered can give them a call.

They generally serve roughly  70-80 people per week, but Meadows said they are anticipating that to change.

“All the government agencies tell me within the next two to three weeks we could see a huge increase,” said Meadows. “People have been out of work long enough and things are running out, and they’re maybe not going back to work when they thought.”

This potential increase in clients comes as food is in shorter supply for the food banks, due in part to people overbuying at grocery stores.

“We buy up everything we can when we can, because we are just trying to be ahead of the curve,” said Meadows. “We’re on wait lists for some things.”

A silver lining – this week the Tri-City Association of REALTORS donated $5,000 to the food bank. Meadows said that’s enough to potentially provide meals for all of their families for a few days.

“We were dancing around,” said Meadows said when she found out about the donation. “There’s only two of us because we can’t have anybody in the office, but we were socially distancing and dancing.”

The Tri-Cities Food Bank is still in need of monetary donations as well as volunteers. Many of their volunteers are elderly or have underlying conditions, and they’d like to replace them with younger volunteers.

The Tri-Cities Food Bank also recently had to change their website domain name, and the old one is no longer legitimate. To donate, volunteer or learn more, click here to visit the new website.