Food & Hunger
Hunger in the state of Washington has grown significantly since the recession started in 2008.

Statistics
  • Food insecurity is defined as having to cut meal size or skip meals, because there was not enough money for food at least once in the last year.  Among youth in Spokane County in 2014, 16% reported experiencing food insecurity.  Food insecurity decreased as maternal education level increased and was more likely among males, blacks, Native Americans/Alaska Natives, Hispanics, and multi-racial youth.  (2015 Spokane Counts, Spokane Regional Health District)

  • Hunger in the state of Washington has grown significantly since the recession started.  From 2008 to the end of 2011, the number of hungry families in Washington grew from about 88,000 to 163,000.  Hunger in our state is now above the national average.  We see evidence of increasing hunger in the rising demand at food banks and steady increase in kids qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches.  ("Hunger problem growing for Washington families," September 2012, AP; The Children's Alliance, http://www.childrensalliance.org/our-current-work/end-childhood-hunger)

  • In 2005, Spokane County gardeners grew and donated enough food for 340,000 meals, more than 85,000 pounds of produce. 
  • In 2006, Plant a Row for the Hungry set a goal of 130,000 pounds for 520,000 meals.

  • Jail inmates (in Bonner County, ID) give back to the community by growing and donating more than 5,000 lbs. from their quarter-acre garden located near the jail.
What You Can Do
  • Real Food Spokane.  Learn about nutrition, gardening, farmers markets, and ways you can get involved in making fresh, local food available to area residents and institutions.  For more information, contact
    Natalie Tauzin
    Spokane Regional Health District
    Food Access Coalition
    (509) 324-1659
    Email:  ntauzin@spokanecounty.org 

  • Locate your closest food bank, find out what hours they are open, and take garden and other food donations to them.  Most food banks are only open for limited hours.  
  • Donate food to food drives sponsored by reputable organizations such as the Boy Scouts, US Postal Service, churches, and food banks.
  • Help collect and transport food to the food banks.
  • Help serve meals at local soup kitchens.  Although food programs are not at the root of the real problem, we must realize there are many people going hungry every day. 
  • Raise awareness about hunger.  Spokane’s Community Colleges raised awareness about hunger in Spokane and around the world, by hosting an Oxfam Hunger Banquet in May 2007.  At the banquet, approximately 15% of the guests were randomly assigned to an “upper class” group; another 25% to the “middle class”; and 60% to the “lower class.”  Each group’s dinner menu reflected their economic status, from a gourmet meal to a simple glass of water and a piece of bread.  The goal was to illustrate the unequal distribution of food around the world.  Tickets for the event were $2/person or $5/family of three or more.  Proceeds benefited the House of Charity in Spokane.  For more information, call (509) 533-8221. 
Local Organizations
Additional Resources

Spokane Community Resource Help: