Why Ron Supports EFN

Ron Hamakawa

Ron joined the EFN Board of Directors 13 years ago, helping lead EFN through the Great Recession and an increase of over 580,000 guest visits to food programs per year.

Q: How did you get involved with EFN?

A: I started off completing the term of a Director I replaced, but quickly realized that the bulk of my professional life involved feeding people, whether through restaurants or hospitals. There’s a natural fit in feeding someone, be it in a waterfront restaurant or at a food pantry.”

Q: As a Board Member, what stands out to you about EFN?

A: The ability to meet the need in the community over all these years, even though visits have grown year over year, is all because of ongoing, generous support from members of the community.

Q: What’s your favorite EFN event?

A: My favorite event is always Empty Bowls. I particularly like that it is a grassroots event that continues to evolve. We can do the event for very little cost, introduce new people to EFN and raise significant funds for EFN.

Q: Why do you think people should support EFN?

A: Because everybody has a story and we shouldn’t ever judge people. I’ve been extremely fortunate, by happenstance or luck, that my family was never challenged by food insecurity. There is a Japanese expression, mottainai, which means wasteful. Growing up, my grandmother demonstrated that wasting food was never acceptable. We focused on not spilling any grains of uncooked rice down the sink, even if it was just five grains of rice. But five grains of rice is only five grains if you’re not hungry.

Join Ron in helping make sure no person in Pierce County goes hungry. Make a donation to Emergency Food Network today!

Why Tae Supports EFN

Tae Wood

Tae is a member of EFN’s Ambassador Board, a group of young professionals dedicated to raising awareness about hunger in our community. Tae joined the Ambassador Board in 2017 and helped make our annual Casino Royale event a huge success! A recent Q&A with Tae reveals why she is passionate about supporting Emergency Food Network and commits her time on the EFN Ambassador Board.

Q: How long have you been connected with EFN?

A: I have volunteered with different EFN events over the past several years and have become more involved over the past year and am enjoying each chance I get to connect with the EFN group and the community.

Q: How did you get involved with EFN?

A: I have become more involved with EFN with my employers (TrueBlue) support and their existing involvement.

Q: Why do you support EFN?

A: I support EFN for many reasons. They take on the great responsibility of offering a tangible benefit to my local community by helping to feed those in need. They have a farm with organic produce to promote healthy eating which is amazing. My family loves going to the farm to help out where we can and it feels nice to be part of something bigger than just ourselves. Setting a good example for my children to know the value of service and the good it can do has been priceless as well. I am grateful to be involved in a cause that supports Pierce County in such a positive way.

Q: Why do you serve on the EFN Ambassador Board?

A: Serving on the Ambassador Board allows for me to connect with others that hold the same value of service and contributing to our local neighborhoods. It’s rewarding and fun to be involved with these people in finding ways to help the community in the way EFN does. I look forward to continuing to grow my relationship with this group and with EFN!

Join Tae in helping make sure no person in Pierce County goes hungry. Make a donation to Emergency Food Network today!

Why Steve Supports EFN

Steve Thompson

Steve and his wife, Pat, have been volunteering at Emergency Food Network since 2010 when Steve’s company built the planter in our parking lot and painted walls in our warehouse. Now, Steve is a regular presence at EFN, stocking the Nourish/EFN Mobile Food Bank and giving out food to guests.

For Steve, supporting neighbors in need traces back multiple generations. “When my dad was a young man during the depression, his mom never turned anyone away,” Steve said.

Steve supports EFN because “the need for help is probably more than it has ever been in our community.” In addition to brightening the lives’ of others, volunteering makes Steve’s days better too. “When you give of yourself and help others, you gain so much. I feel great for the entire day after working on the mobile food bank.”

When asked about his favorite part about volunteering with EFN, he said: “handing out treats to kids and seeing them smile.”

Join Steve in helping make sure no person in Pierce County goes hungry. Make a donation to Emergency Food Network today!

Empty Bowls Event Will Help Fills Bowls of Neighbors in Need

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Local potters, woodworkers, and glassblowers have spent countless hours making bowls this past year to donate to Empty Bowls, an annual event that aims to fill the empty bowls of Pierce County residents in need.

Each year, the line starts forming an hour before the doors open. Then the search for the “best” bowls begins. Preference, of course, is relative. One person might grab a bowl donated by Throwing Mud Gallery, and another person chooses a bowl made by a local artist at the Washington State Fair. Once selections are made and purchased, with all proceeds going to Emergency Food Network (EFN), attendees make their way to eat free soup, donated and served by Chambers Bay Grill, Indo Asian Street Eatery, Infinite Soups, Pacific Grill, Spring Lake Café, Stanley and Seaforts, The Swiss, and X-Group Restaurants.

It’s an annual tradition enjoyed by more than 500 people each year. More than 1,000 bowls are purchased for the home or for holiday gifts, and more than 700 bowls of soup are consumed over two and a half hours. This year’s event is Saturday, November 18, 2017 at Charles Wright Academy from 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm. Admission is FREE. Bowl prices start at $10.

Empty Bowls began as a grassroots project for local artists and community members to work together to assist people suffering from hunger. The event now spans to twelve countries and many states across the U.S., generating millions of dollars for various hunger relief agencies. For the last 18 years, EFN has hosted Empty Bowls in Pierce County, highlighting works from talented veteran artists and new local talent. In 2016, EFN raised over $31,000 from Empty Bowls. This is the equivalent of 160,000 meals for food-insecure Pierce County residents.

Sponsors for this year’s Empty Bowls event include Heartland Express, Whole Foods Market Chambers Bay, Coordinated Care, HomeStreet Bank, Inn at Gig Harbor, Johnson Stone and Pagano, Kidder Matthews, Panattoni Development, UFCW Local 367, and Zack Rosenbloom & Associates.

The continued success of Empty Bowls is due to the overwhelming community support from artists who donate the bowls, volunteers who set up and help run the event, local restaurants that donate soup, and the 500-plus community members who attend the event.

For more information about Empty Bowls www.efoodnet.org/event/empty-bowls-2017


We are seeking an Assistant Farm Manager!

Do you have a passion for food justice and social services? Are you ready to bring your farm experience, organizational skills, and creativity to an organization that is the backbone of Pierce County’s emergency food system? Do you want to work with a dynamic team, interact with incredible people, engage with the community, and have a significant impact on food security in our community?

OUR STORY: Emergency Food Network is located in Lakewood, WA and was established in 1982. In a given year we move over 14 million pounds of food and serve more than 68 partner programs. Our Board of Directors is active and engaged and we also have an Ambassador Board, which is made up of younger professionals. As part of our work in meeting the community’s need, EFN also operates an 8 acre farm in the Puyallup River Valley. Each year, the farm uses organic practices to grow over 100,000 pounds of fresh produce for our partners. Mostly focused on vegetables, Mother Earth Farm also has an orchard, beehives, a flock of laying hens, and a flower garden. We grow and harvest throughout the year, using two high tunnels and three caterpillar tunnels over the winter. Mother Earth Farm works closely on all farm tasks with a crew of incarcerated people from the Washington Correctional Center for Women (WCCW) in Gig Harbor as an educational and job-training program. The farm also relies on the work of seasonal employees, interns, and volunteers from the surrounding community.

Mother Earth Farm is looking for an Assistant Farm Manager for the 2018 season. We are excited about adding to our Farm Team and are looking for someone with a desire to learn and take on leadership as trained.

SUMMARY DESCRIPTION: The Assistant Farm Manager will support all aspects of production at Mother Earth. Responsibilities include participation in and supervision of all steps from propagation to distribution, both working alone and with others. It is important that the Assistant Manager be able to effectively lead groups of all sizes while providing information to community members about Emergency Food Network’s work in Pierce County. The Assistant Farm Manager must be able to step in when the Farm Manager is not available.


  • Work with the Farm Manager on all aspects of organic vegetable production including planning, propagating, direct seeding, cultivating, record keeping, and harvesting over 120 different fruit and vegetable varieties.
  • Work with Farm Manager to install and maintain irrigation and sprinkler system
  • Organize and track distribution to 16 food pantry partners throughout the season
  • Work with Farm Manager to manage and goal set for work crew of incarcerated people from WCCW
  • Work with, communicate, and oversee work plans for two Seasonal Farm Assistants
  • Work with and manage farm interns throughout the season
  • Work with Farm Manager to deliver education program to crew from WCCW
  • Operate farm machinery including tractors, implements, mowers, and small engine tools
  • Manage and lead groups of community volunteers in completing farm tasks
  • Work with Volunteer Coordinator and Farm Manager to keep volunteer records and paperwork
  • Work with Community Engagement Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator and Farm Manager to communicate volunteer goals, successes, and collect feedback
  • Communicate farm systems, goals, and organizational information to volunteers and visitors to the farm
  • Assist in farm events throughout the season including Wednesday evening Brewer’s Nights and weekend events as needed
  • Be able to supervise farm and employees when Farm Manager is not present


  • Has at least two years of experience working on a diversified organic vegetable farm
  • Is able to operate tractors and farm equipment – maintenance experience is a strong benefit
  • Has demonstrated strong attention to detail and excellent communication skills
  • Has experience managing diverse groups of people and is able to work with people of all ages
  • Has the ability to work independently and collaboratively as needed
  • Is interested in learning Mother Earth Farms’ systems and taking on leadership roles as trained
  • Strong and effective oral and interpersonal skills
  • Patient, nice to others, and with a sense of humor
  • A passionate advocate for access to nutritious food as a key social justice strategy
  • Light construction skills or experience preferred
  • Must have a valid driver’s license

There are opportunities for advancement with this position.

 WORK SCHEDULE: The schedule is typically 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Wednesday through Sunday but due to variances in the event schedule it will vary. Typically there are 2 weeknight events each month starting in June and ending in September that run into the evening.


  • Full-time salary range of $16 – $17/hour based on experience
  • 2 weeks of vacation, increased to 3 weeks’ vacation after 2 years, and 8 hours added monthly to your sick balance- benefits start after first full month of employment
  • We provide medical ($500 Deductible) vision, dental, life insurance with EFN covering 100% of the cost of the employee’s insurance premiums
  • EFN has a 403(b) plan and contributes 5% after the employee has been here for one full month

EFN is a collaborative, team-focused, work space. The Farm Team (which includes this position) values transparency, collaboration, and sustainability. Opportunities to engage in local farm education and training will be available.


  • Please send a resume and cover letter to jobs@efoodnet.org
  • Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

EFN is an equal opportunity employer. We encourage all interested applicants to apply.