On May 6th, Imagine Housing and the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank held a free film screening of Hunger in America, a documentary tackling the hunger epidemic in America, at the Issaquah High School Theatre. Over 60 community members joined us for this special event, which included a robust panel discussion after the film.
Imagine Housing Director of Supportive Services, Rachel Mathison, along with representatives from the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank, Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank, Food Lifeline and Emergency Food Network of Pierce County all spoke to wide ranging effects of hunger in our own Eastside community. A few of the highlights from the discussion included:
- Hunger is an intersectional issue and ties in greatly with housing, poverty, income inequality, etc.
- Rachel M. touched on the point that although Imagine Housing residents have been able to obtain affordable housing, many are still at risk of not knowing where their next meal will come from. Katheryn Ryan, Policy and Research Coordinator at Food Lifeline, agreed mentioning that food is often the first item that gets cut from a family’s budget as it is the most tangible component of their monthly expenses. Rent, utilities and transportation are prioritized budget items, leaving many individuals without excess resources to buy food.
- More than 4,500 people were served at the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank just last month – which includes many of Imagine Housing Issaquah’s residents. Specifically, 15 Imagine Housing families utilize the Groceries-to-Go program at Rose Crest, Mine Hill, Johnson Hill and Andrew’s Arms, which bring groceries right to their door of those unable to make it to a grocery store or food bank.
- In King County, 47 percent of individuals attending food pantries are veterans.
After the discussion, attendees stayed around to learn more at information tables hosted by Imagine Housing, the Issaquah Food Bank and the Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank. Additionally, commitment cards were distributed to all attendees which listed ways they to make a difference in our community to fight hunger, such as hosting a food drive or donating your extra summer produce from your garden to a local food bank this summer. Another way to make a difference in our community is to host a community dinner for one of our Imagine Housing communities. If you or someone you know would be interested in hosting dinner, contact me at email@example.com.
~ Rachel Voelkle, Operations Coordinator