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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Pacific NW

WA Food Fund receives $1 million from Paul G. Allen Family Foundation

UPDATED: Thu., June 18, 2020

Second Harvest Food Bank volunteers Robert Riedel, left, and Kristen Nicholson, stack and pack dry food items into emergency baskets for the mobile market program to be delivered to the Northeast Youth Center, Tuesday, April 7, 2020 in Spokane, Wash. The Washington Food Fund, which supports Second Harvest and other food pantry suppliers in Washington, has received a $1 million grant from the Paul G. Allen Foundation.   (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Second Harvest Food Bank volunteers Robert Riedel, left, and Kristen Nicholson, stack and pack dry food items into emergency baskets for the mobile market program to be delivered to the Northeast Youth Center, Tuesday, April 7, 2020 in Spokane, Wash. The Washington Food Fund, which supports Second Harvest and other food pantry suppliers in Washington, has received a $1 million grant from the Paul G. Allen Foundation.  (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

The WA Food Fund, which locally benefits Second Harvest and Northwest Harvest, received a $1 million grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation this week.

The food fund was created in April to help with the increased need for food banks during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent skyrocketing unemployment.

The fund, managed by Philanthropy Northwest, has raised more than $8 million.

“Food assistance is a critical need for people in Washington, with data indicating the economic impacts of COVID-19 will make food and nutrition insecurity an ever-increasing challenge over the summer,” Paul Keating, on behalf of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, said in a statement.

Since businesses were forced to close in early March, more than 1.3 million initial claims for unemployment have been filed in Washington.

Northwest Harvest released a study last month estimating that 2.2 million people are at risk of going hungry when the gap between the demand for food assistance and supply peaks, perhaps as soon as August.

Food insecurity disproportionately affects people of color, something Philanthropy Northwest hopes to combat as well.

“As joblessness hits our state, we need to acknowledge that it disproportionately affects communities of color and how racism has long contributed to food insecurity,” wrote Kiran Ahuja, CEO of Philanthropy Northwest, in a statement. “Fighting hunger in our state is one way to address the racial inequities that COVID-19 magnified, and we’re fortunate that the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation shares that concern and is helping families in need.”

Food Lifeline, which provides food in Western Washington, will also benefit from the donation.

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