According to Ferndale Food Bank Executive Director Suzanne Nevan, 25% of Ferndale residents currently struggle with hunger. “We have been breaking records since May of 2017,” Nevan said in an email.
Nevan points to rising costs of living while wages remain stagnant as the reason for the increase in use of Ferndale Food Bank’s services. During a recent presentation about the Ferndale Food Bank to the Ferndale City Council, Nevan noted, “The bulk of the people served by the Food Bank are working but their paychecks are not keeping up.”
Some statistics Nevan shared with the council and City staff included,
- increased mobile delivery service to over 40 seniors a week
- over 10,000 children and 4,300 seniors benefit from the Food Bank
- 25% increase in clients served from 2015-17
Nevan pointed out, “These are not hoarders or grabbers, these are people who are struggling to keep their homes heated in the winter and need help.”
The Food Bank, located at 1671 Main Street in the Whatcom Transportation Authority Ferndale Park & Ride lot, is able to serve so many due to the efforts of nearly 2,500 volunteers who put in nearly 10,000 volunteer hours a year. Clients leave with 60 to 65 pounds of food and receive help on how to create healthy nutritious meals. In addition, volunteers grew 7,000 pounds of fresh produce in the Ferndale Community Friendship Garden last year.
From another perspective, Ferndale School District officials report over 40% of all students in the district during the current school year qualify and are enrolled in the District’s “Free and Reduced Meals” program. They note more probably qualify but have not enrolled.
There are several local resources for those caught in the pinch of the rising costs of living and they all provide opportunities to help through volunteering time and financial donations.
- Ferndale Food Bank
- Other Bank
- Family Meals Project
- Ferndale Community Service Cooperative
- Free and Reduced Meals (online sign up link)