Their motto is “Service Above Self,” and Pierce County Rotarians are applying this philosophy towards feeding food-insecure families and individuals in our community. Three area clubs donated a total of $8,000 this summer towards supporting Emergency Food Network and its mission “to provide a reliable food supply so that no person in Pierce County goes hungry.”
The Rotary Club of Tacoma #8 contributed $5,000, Rotary Club of South Tacoma contributed $2,000, and the Rotary Club of Lakewood gave $1,000 in grant funding to EFN. Thanks to partnerships with other independent food distributors in Washington and a volunteer force of over 2,500 annually, the organization operates with an overhead of under 4% and is able to distributes $12 worth of food for every $1 donated. Eight thousand dollars in grant funding goes a long way.
Business and community leaders participate in Rotary clubs around the world. They are considered the oldest volunteer service organization in the world, putting community involvement and high ethical standards in the forefront of the work they do to eradicate polio and supply fresh water globally and to address human service and education needs at the local level.
More than a dozen clubs operate in Pierce County and all were honored in 2011 by EFN through their Corporate and Civic Partners program, which honors businesses and civic groups that work to help the hungry through donating food, funds, resources, and time towards the effort. Rotarians are found every third Saturday of each month at EFN, repacking bulk food into smaller portions for food bank clients on “Rotary Repack Day.” Over the years, Rotarians have donated time volunteering and many clubs have contributed funding. In 2010, Lakewood’s club donated a “Guillotine” to help break up bulk frozen produce. Tacoma Narrows Rotary contributed funds to purchase a box truck to aide with EFN’s delivery program.
“The Rotary Club of Tacoma #8 for over a year has been volunteering on the third Saturday of the month helping to repack food at the Emergency Food Network,” said club president, Brien Elvins. “It has being a great project for the club and many club members have brought friends and family to help.We also recently donated $5,000 to EFN from our Annual Grants Budget. The Rotary Club of Tacoma #8 and other Rotary Clubs in Pierce County hope to continue their support of EFN both financially and with volunteer hours.”
More than 14 million pounds of food valued at $18.5 million moves through Emergency Food Network’s Warehouse Distribution Center in Lakewood every year. This accounts for 80% of all food distributed in Pierce County. At any given time, pallets of canned beans, soups, fresh produce, frozen salmon patties, and peanut butter tower above warehouse volunteers and forklift operators. It comes from a multitude of sources; food drives, donations from food distributors, government commodity deliveries. EFN also purchases more than $500,000 of staple items annually. All of the food is distributed at no cost 67 food banks, meal sites, and shelters in Pierce County.
For information about the Emergency Food Network or to volunteer with the Repack Project, visit www.efoodnet.org or contact Development Director Jeff Klein at firstname.lastname@example.org.