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Food banks again able to help families fulfill own needs through Safeway grocery cards

SNOHOMISH — Safeway is once again distributing grocery gift cards to local food banks and support centers to help area residents get additional food.
Safeway began distributing $50 gift cards to food banks such as the Snohomish Community Food Bank and Volunteers of America-Everett in mid-January and will continue through the month of February. One of the community partners, the Maltby Food Bank, currently serves approximately 140 families and began distributing the cards the last week of January.
While food banks are able to keep their shelves stocked with a variety of non-perishables, they are limited in their supply of meats and fresh produce, usually only having around three vegetable options at a time. The gift card program allows people to easily get items that the food bank does not offer, such as certain fresh fruits and vegetables, specialty beverages, as well as items that are not able to be purchased with EBT cards such as toiletries and paper products.
“The clients do love them,” said Maltby Food Bank director Natalie Oswald, “They love being able to get something that we don’t have here.” Many use the cards for gluten-free, sugar-free, or low-sodium items that are not easy to find at the food bank.
The cards are not intended to replace the groceries supplied by the food bank, but to supplement them and allow for more flexibility and variety. People can use the cards to purchase anything Safeway has except alcohol and cigarettes.
“We wanted to give people really easy access to come shop in our stores,” said Sara Osborne, Safeway’s Director of External Affairs. “We realized that the grocery cards could reach a lot of people who might not go to food banks just due to limited hours or due to the stigma.”
Cards have also been used to supplement the inventory at the food bank, along with going beyond clients and being given to local school teachers in order to allow them to buy snacks for their classrooms.
At the Maltby and Snohomish food banks, cards are primarily intended for families and individuals who come get food.
Safeway’s program began in December of 2020 and has proven to be useful in helping the food banks meet people’s needs.
At the Maltby Food Bank, most of the cards will be distributed in the coming weeks, but they plan to hold onto a small amount to give out during the spring holidays, Oswald said. Cards are distributed at the food bank when clients visit the site to pick up their groceries.
To get services through the Snohomish Community Food Bank, sign up through www.snohomishfoodbank.org or call 360-568-7993.
In order to become a client through the Maltby Food Bank, send your name, address, and the number of members in your household to info@maltbyfoodbank.org
Other community partners Safeway is working with are the Community Health Center of Snohomish County, Latino Education and Training Institute, Lynnwood Food Bank, Volunteers of America - Everett, Volunteers of America - Mill Creek, Concern for Neighbors Food Bank, and Washington Serves, an organization dedicated to serving veterans.

 

  

 


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