Partnerships Make Stronger Communities

Have you even wondered why does Associated Ministries do a fundraiser for another nonprofit? Did you know that the Emergency Food Network (EFN) was once a program of Associated Ministries? Associated Ministries and EFN have a long history of working together starting in 1985.

EFN began as a program in 1982 when the leadership of FISH Food Banks, Tacoma Rescue Mission, Salvation Army, and Associated Ministries recognized a great need in the community to resource emergency food collectively. With guidance from the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, and through the organizing efforts of Dennis Flannigan, EFN’s first Executive Director, the organization was created to serve as Pierce County’s central storage and distribution center for emergency food programs.

In 1985 EFN was transferred as a program to Associated Ministries. Originally designed to meet a temporary need caused by the economic recession of the 1980’s, it became apparent in the early 1990’s that the need for such a community service had grown. In response, EFN became an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 1991.

As the sole nonprofit food distributor located in Pierce County, many food programs are solely dependent on EFN for food.

Did you know? Overall, 99% of visitors to food banks fall below the national poverty line.

118,000 visits were made each month to food banks in Pierce County. Of these visits, 35 percent were children under the age of 18, and 19 percent were seniors over the age of 55. Together, this means more than half of visits to food banks are children and seniors.

More than 1.4 million visits were made to local food banks during 2014 with an 11 percent increase since 2011.

Emergency Food Network aided these visits by distributing more than 15.2 million pounds of food in 2014, providing millions of meals to hungry individuals in Pierce County.

The Pierce County emergency food system includes 67 food banks and hot meal sites providing over 15 million meals annually to over 1,300,000 clients (duplicated count). In recent years, food programs have experienced an increase in the number of clients seeking services.

What can a dollar do?

Every dollar can make a difference to hungry families in our community. For every dollar donated, Emergency Food Network is able to distribute $12 worth of food.

  • $1,000 provides one year’s worth of food for a family of four
  • $500 provides 2,900 meals for children when school lunches are unavailable in the summer
  • $100 provides two months’ worth of baby formula for infants in need
  • $50 provides three weeks’ worth of food for a family of four
  • $25 provides 145 meals for children during the summer when school lunches are unavailable

What does EFN do?

EFN operates two distinct programs: 1) the Distribution Center, and 2) the Mother Earth Farm  Programs incubated and supported by EFN include the Orchard and the Gleaning Project. The 20,000 square foot Distribution Center is located in Lakewood and is the agency’s storage, distribution, and administrative center. They also have a Repack Project in this Distribution Center. The Mother Earth Farm is an 8-acre organic farm located in Orting that yields more than 150,000 pounds of fresh produce annually.  Started in 2006, the 13-acre Orchard in Roy has 308 apple and plum trees that will provide a sustainable supply of fresh fruit for food banks.

Since 1996, EFN has made a commitment to developing programs that not only provide wholesome food to those in need, but also offer opportunities to develop basic work skills in a supportive environment.

Who does EFN help?

EFN serves 67 feeding programs in Pierce County who in turn serve a diverse population of low-income clients. More than half are children and seniors and almost half are families with at least one adult working.

Hunger is rarely an isolated issue and usually is a symptom of a larger problem impacting an individual’s ability to gain and maintain an adequate level of economic security.

With EFN’s combination of working farm, Repack Project, orchard, distribution warehouse, and Gleaning Project, the Emergency Food Network is unique. It is one of the only non-profit emergency food distribution centers in the country capable of growing, gleaning, purchasing, storing and distributing food—taking food straight from the land to the tables of those in need.

EFN’s mission is “to provide Pierce County with a consistent, diverse and nutritious food supply so that no person goes hungry.” This meshes perfectly with Associated Ministries mission of “uniting people of faith together to build stronger communities”. So working together to unite people who can help with the agency who can help those in need makes for stronger communities.

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