New delivery service underway for customers of Tukwila Food Pantry

Cross-posted from the King County Office of Emergency Management

People who need food in the Tukwila area received the first home deliveries from the Tukwila Food Pantry recently, and more households will benefit from the new program through the end of June.

“Many people who are seniors or otherwise at high-risk are afraid about venturing outside, let alone going to the store or coming to the food bank,” said Benton Coblentz, board member of the Tukwila Food Pantry. “We have made coming to our food bank as safe as possible, but we’re still aware that it isn’t a suitable option for some. This delivery will allow us to serve those people and fill a gap in our community.”

Washington National Guard Officer loading up boxes of supplies.

King County Emergency Management helped arrange a new partnership with Uber Eats to bring food to those who need it in Tukwila, SeaTac, Burien, and Boulevard Park, as part of the COVID-19 response. The first deliveries took place Thursday, May 14 to twelve households. Members of the National Guard also are helping at food banks in Tukwila and throughout the county.

Leaders at the Tukwila Food Pantry said the first day of the deliveries went well. They expect the Uber partnership to help several dozen households each week, efficiently helping those who would otherwise be unable to access emergency food on their own.

“We have been considering offering this to clients since the start of the pandemic, but before now, the logistical hurdles were too great,” added Coblentz. “We are glad to have Uber Eats to partner with to provide this service.”

King County Emergency Management and the county’s Emergency Operations Center have been working with Uber to help people suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the county’s Donations Connector, Uber is providing:

  • 2,000 meals for residents and staff at the isolation and quarantine facilities
  • 500 rides for people discharged from the isolation facilities back to get back to their location of origin
  • 75 meals to Friends of the Children Seattle
  • 200 deliveries from the Tukwila Food Pantry to homes

“We are honored to help support the needs of some of Seattle’s most vulnerable populations during this incredibly tough time,” said Caleb Weaver, Senior Public Policy Manager of Uber. “This is part of Uber’s global efforts to provide 10 million rides and meals to those in need around the world.”

The number of people in King County facing food insecurity is expected to continue to rise with the economic fallout of the pandemic.

“Before this crisis, we were serving around 300 households per week, but now we are serving well over 1,000, and there are times when we serve over 500 households in a single day,” Coblentz said. “We do not predict that the need will abate, even when the ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order is lifted, since the economic repercussions for many families have been so severe.”

The efforts are among many now underway to serve the increasing numbers of people facing food insecurity in King County.

“I’m glad we had the opportunity to make the connection through the Emergency Operations Center and the Donations Connector to help some of our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Brendan McCluskey, Emergency Management Director.

If you live in Tukwila, SeaTac, Burien, or Boulevard Park and need help with food delivery, sign up. If you can help with donations for community organizations or the COVID-19 response, please sign up on the King County Donations Connector.

Originally posted on May 15, 2020.