Unified Grocers convention yields major donation for Emergency Food Network

Approximately 43,000 pounds of food and household items were recently donated to the Emergency Food Network of Pierce County following a two-day convention hosted by Unified Grocers in downtown Tacoma.

“We are so grateful to receive such a wonderful donation,” said Emergency Food Network Executive Director Helen McGovern-Pilant. “We rely on donations from our community to help us provide food for hungry children, adults, and seniors throughout the year.”

Unified Grocers hosted the annual Unified Sell-abration Pacific Northwest, a private selling show showcasing quality food and products available to its customers, suppliers, and brokers between Weds., Feb. 17, and Thurs., Feb. 18, at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center. This year, vendors were given the opportunity to donate products left over at the end of the event to help people in need. In the end, Emergency Food Network, with the help of twenty volunteers, filled an entire semi-trailer and box truck with food and household items.

Families and individuals in need visiting local food banks, meal sites, and shelters over next few weeks will be eating quality meats, produce, dairy, and packaged foods. They will also receive household goods including, pots, pans, cleaning supplies, makeup, shampoo, as well as other toiletries. This donation will add to the 1.3 million pounds of food Emergency Food Network distributes each month to 70 partner food programs in Pierce County.

Founded in 1922, Unified Grocers is a retailer-owned wholesale grocery distributor that supplies independent retailers throughout the western United States. This is the second notable donation to the Emergency Food Network so far this year. In January, the Transportation Club of Tacoma donated more than $32,000 to the Emergency Food Network of Pierce County (see “Transportation Club of Tacoma donates $32K to Emergency Food Network,” Tacoma Daily Index, Jan. 22, 2016).

The Emergency Food Network of Pierce County began as a program in 1982 when the leadership of FISH Food Banks, Tacoma Rescue Mission, Salvation Army, and Associated Ministries recognized a community need to resource emergency food collectively. Originally designed to meet a temporary need caused by the economic recession of the 1980s, the Emergency Food Network became an independent non-profit organization in 1991. The Pierce County emergency food system includes 70 food banks and hot meal sites providing over 15 million meals annually.

More information is available online efoodnet.org.