How do the food bank volunteers and staff do it? Creative use of space, lots of volunteers, and more than a little patience. Shelves are lined with cans and packaged food before the day even starts. The produce and meats are packed into crates and set out on tables. Extra crates of food are stored anywhere there’s room. The food bank serves clients as quickly and as well as it can, given its limited area. I can imagine how much more smoothly the distribution would run if they had a bigger space, though.
The Rainier Valley Food Bank is located in the 98118 zip code, which is literally the most diverse zip code in the United States (click here to read more). This is obvious at the food bank. I have heard Vietnamese, Chinese, Ukrainian, Spanish and Somali spoken there, and those are only the languages I recognized! This mix of languages presents a unique challenge to the food bank volunteers who have to rely on non-verbal communication.