Food Bank and Senior Center staff standing up to meet challenge
of the Covid crisis.
2020-2021 REPORT: Community support keeps human services alive through Covid pandemic
Hello and thank you to everyone who kept the Pike Market Senior Center & Food Bank open - without interruption - through the Covid-19 pandemic.
We primarily serve elders. Doing this work while a virus is taking the lives of so many older adults is difficult. There is no margin for error. For over a year, we have balanced our community’s need for free groceries, healthy meals, activities, and social work with our ability to safely offer these services.
Last year, many of us experienced some of the instability and fear that our low-income and homeless neighbors live with every day. The experience generated a wave of empathy for Seattle’s most vulnerable people. Your gifts allowed us to add new services: more nutritional resources and social work. People are getting more help to alleviate isolation and improve their well-being.
In this crisis, we see an opportunity to reduce poverty
and homelessness in Seattle. Keep reading and we’ll show
you what we did, what we learned, and what we plan to do.
We hope you’ll continue on this journey with us!
Jeannie Falls, Executive Director
Pike Market Senior Center & Food Bank
Voices - How have clients, volunteers, and staff experienced the pandemic?
“I like that staff take the virus seriously. Even with all the changes, it’s still an island of tranquility. I know if I make it to the Senior Center or the Food Bank, I’m going to find people who care.”
- Richard, Senior Center member and Food Bank client
“This place has been a lifeline. I’m here pretty much every day, getting lunch, grabbing some hand warmers, and talking to Steven (social worker). It’s been keeping me alive!”
- Al, Senior Center member
“We have learned that the members of the Senior Center are resilient.
They are problem solvers! A lot has been asked of people our age - stay home, stay safe is a lot easier said than done.
This has been very hard, but we have figured it out.”
- Zoë , Programming Manager with 30 years of experience at PMSC-FB
“My usual job is to get the groceries ready to serve. But this year, a big part of my work is to just be nice to people. Folks have been through a lot so it’s important to treat them with respect.”
Alma, Food Bank volunteer
Free bags of groceries - 50,977
Free meals - 45,467
Unique people served - 6,500+
Social work cases - 5,151
Homeless seniors housed - 17
Days closed - ZERO
Challenges How we adapted What we learned
Growth through adversity:
Programs that performed higher during the pandemic
Food Bank home delivery:
In 2020, we adjusted our
service model to safely deliver over 5,700 bags of groceries to homebound people - up 13% over 2019.
Seeing the positive impact we made in 2020, we invested heavily in this project and have delivered 9,657 bags of groceries in the first half of 2021 alone!
A robust staff of experienced social workers is what makes our Senior Center unique. In 2020, our six social workers assisted older adults via 5,151 instances of case management - a 24% increase over 2020.
Our social workers connect elders to benefits and medical care and help unhoused
seniors find affordable apartments. In 2020, we helped 17 homeless seniors move into safe housing.
In March 2021, we held our first vaccine clinic for seniors in the Pike Place Market. With new tools to fight the pandemic, we are looking forward to a new future. And we are ready to tackle new challenges.
The Next Challenges:
We discovered unmet needs in the community that we will seek to continue to address even after Covid is a memory. Here is what our next year looks like:
· When it’s safe, bring back activities like congregate meals, dancing, discussion groups, and in-person classes.
· Bridge the digital divide that keeps low-income people from accessing resources, educational opportunities, and cultural materials online.
· Put more of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion framework into effect to become an actively anti-racist organization.
· Maintain the Food Bank’s expanded home delivery
program to ensure that people with disabilities do not face hunger.
· Maintain the Senior Center’s “third meal” program to
offer elders a healthy, free option for every meal of the day.
The rest of 2021 is an opportunity for us to make every day better and safer for elders and for people facing hunger in Downtown Seattle. You helped us through 2020, we hope you will stay on this journey with us and meet tomorrow’s challenges!