The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has awarded FISH Food Banks its 2014 Neighborhood Builders award, which comes with $200,000 and leadership training.
Bank of America chooses Neighborhood Builders from high-performing non-profits that have made a significant impact on meeting community needs.
Established in 1973, FISH has seven food banks throughout Pierce County, plus a Mobile Food Bank that delivers food to areas without a food bank. A specially outfitted semi-trailer, the Mobile Food Bank came online in 2011, and in 2012 served 30,000 people. FISH as a whole distributed 6 million pounds of food to 556,298 to people those years.
The grant is unrestricted, which means that FISH can choose how to use it in its mission to improve food security for Pierce County residents. It plans to use the gift to double the Mobile Food Bank's distribution, bringing it to 10 sites per week in 2014.
“In assessing our operations and our ability to serve families in need, we recognized that the combination of drastic cutbacks in public transportation and continued high gas prices have created real obstacles for many low-income families,” said FISH Executive Director Beth Elliott. “There are large pockets of poverty in Pierce County where there is little or no access to a food bank. To alleviate hunger in these areas with high poverty, limited access to transportation and limited access to nutritious food, we decided to launch a Mobile Food Bank. This grant from Bank of America will make a huge difference in the amount of food we’re able to distribute and the amount of people we’re able to serve.”
Christi Gordon, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Bank of America, Puget Sound, explained the bank's choice of FISH:
“With one in six Americans at risk for hunger in the United States, we recognize the important role FISH Food Bank plays in serving our most vulnerable residents and ensuring better lives for many individuals and families in Pierce County communities by providing critical needs to those who are hungry. It’s our hope that this leadership training and funding will not only deepen their impact today but sustain their mission and services over time.”
Bank of America made the announcement, complete with a giant check, at the Tacoma Rotary 8 Luncheon.