White Center Food Bank opens new "Grocery Store" model shopping experience
Serving thousands of people in need monthly, the White Center Food Bank joined the movement among food distribution centers nationally on July 5th opening a new "grocery store" shopping model.
The new layout offers fresh produce, shelf stable milk, canned goods, packaged foods and frozen meats. They are located at 10829 8th Ave SW. near White Center.
The new model, initiated only last February was led into being by Executive Director Marelle Habenicht. She said, "We really wanted to serve our clients with more dignity and respect and to be able to give them more food choices. Rather than having somebody hand them something over the counter they are able to come to the grocery store, choose what they want, take their time. If they have dietary restrictions they are able to actually read all the ingredients, rather than have a volunteer read it for them."
The milk is primarily shelf stable, and they have yogurt, eggs, and butter. Bread products are usually fully stocked.
If you want to donate food to the White Center Food Bank or help out, "We always need frozen meat, any fresh produce, and honestly coming to volunteer," said Habenicht. If you do volunteer you can expect to help in the grocery store, with check out, bagging and carrying groceries out to the client cars.
The Food Bank has doubled its distribution hours so they need help from 10am to 2pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and on Monday from 12 to 4pm. The 2nd and 4th Wednesday they do food distribution from 4pm to 7pm.
The Food Bank is open from 8am to 4pm Monday through Friday.
The change is really aimed at the clients. "We wanted to make it a really welcoming place and not your typical social service experience," said Habenicht, " You are not sitting in a waiting room for three or four hours. You are able to schedule an appointment, get in, in five minutes and get through it." Clients can schedule shopping visits in advance weeks ahead if necessary. "We are doing five appointments every fifteen minutes and the last hour is open to those without appointments or new clients." They are allowed three visits a month and next week online scheduling through the website will be enabled.
Former Director Rick Jump was at the opening event and said, "They have
have hired a great Executive staff here and this change is something I wanted to see happen from a long time ago. It's about dignity."
Habenicht thanked her entire staff and singled out Development Director Carmen Smith for all the time she put in, "she actually used a crow bar to pull up all the old floor tiles before we did the new floor," and Pam Romine who was the Project Manager who was instrumental by "creating the timeline and ordering the furniture, and did everything. We could not have done it without her."