The Woodinville City Council gave the thumbs up on an amendment to the Farms for Life (FFL) COVID-19 Emergency Human Services Grant agreement, which will allow the nonprofit entity to expand allowable uses for the grant funds.
The decision to do so took place during the council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 22.
“Farms for Life is honored and thrilled to announce that the Woodinville City Council approved our grant amendment request to deliver locally sourced farm-fresh produce to the Northshore Senior Center Food Pantry,” said Farms for Life President Marie Shimada. “This amendment is in addition to the produce we donate to the Northshore Senior Center for their Sound Generations chef to use in meals.”
In late April of 2020, the city of Woodinville's Human Services taskforce offered the nonprofit a $10,000 COVID-19 relief grant to create a joint project to donate and deliver produce that it bought from area farmers to agencies that serve people experiencing food insecurity. The Northshore Senior Center and Camp Unity were two agencies earmarked by FFL for the program.
In early August, FFL began providing produce for newly formed partner Sound Generation, which employs a chef to prepare meals at the Northshore Senior Center in Bothell. Two weeks into the program, FFL Secretary Morgan Winkler said, they were approached by a donor who provided the nonprofit with a small amount of money to purchase produce for the senior center pantry. The pantry, however, didn’t fall under the umbrella of the Human Service grant funding.
So, on Friday, Sept. 11, Winkler sent an email to Woodinville City Manager Brandon Buchanan to see if it were possible to use some of that funding for the pantry.
“There is a clear need from the pantry for produce purchases to feed hungry Woodinville members,” she wrote, “and at the rate that the senior center is ordering there will be funding left from our grant by the end of the year.”
After giving her request some thought, Buchanan added her modification request to the council consent agenda for the Sept. 22 meeting and recommended council approve an amendment to the human services grant agreement with FFL to include the option of purchasing produce to supply the Northshore Senior Center food pantry.
"Farms for Life has determined if the amount of funds used for the meals program remains consistent for the next few months there will be excess grant funds at the end of the grant period," he stated. "The Northshore Senior Center staff has reported that their customers are thrilled with all that Farms for Life have been providing. The amendment request is to use the excess funds to purchase produce so that they can continue to provide produce to the food pantry."
Shimada estimated the amendment will allow FFL to magnify the impact of the city grant dollars by 300%.
“The food pantry staff estimates that this produce may impact approximately 600 people per week, which is in addition to the estimated 300 residents impacted by the weekly kitchen meals,” she said. “This amendment also gives Farms for Life the opportunity to amplify our commitment to supporting local farmers by the additional produce purchases each week going to the food pantry."
Shimada said FFL has donated more than 1,100 pounds of produce to the Northshore Senior Center so far this year.
“I think our project is a great example of the positive impact that can happen when nonprofits and government work together to support our communities," Shimada said.
Pantry hours are Tuesday from 9 a.m. to noon, Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.