Patrick Robinson
Fran Yeatts, Executive Director of the West Seattle Food Bank showing the new shelving and refrigeration cases just set up there. The Food Bank now has a new "shopping model" allowing people to browse through shelves with a shopping cart to get the food they need.

West Seattle Food Bank gets new 'Shopping' model going

The West Seattle Food Bank began, "Probably the most important change since we opened," said Executive Director Fran Yeatts, on Tuesday Feb. 7 as they initiated a new "shopping model" for food distribution.

The West Seattle Herald was the first to tell you about the change last December.

Essentially those the Food Bank serves can now browse through the shelves and get the groceries they need by using a color code system and a regular shopping cart. The items on the shelves are color coded and clients who go through the aisles and shelves to select their own items. For example a client might take 2 items from the blue shelves, 3 from the yellow, and 1 from the green, based on the size of their family. Previously they would have had to wait for staff to retrieve items and fill bags for them.

In the future the Food Bank plans to have low sodium items and Halal or gluten free items in their own areas.

Area businesses have been very helpful. West Seattle Thriftway assisted by helping the Food Bank make a major purchase of cheese for the debut of the new distribution model and Metropolitan Market made close to 20 of their older shopping carts available, and then the carts were refurbished for the Food Bank.

New at the Food Bank are refrigeration cases that store and display fresh milk, eggs, cheese and other items. They were installed last week and were purchase from Refrigeration Unlimited.

Yeatt's said, "We've heard from people who have already been in to try it and they've said it's more humane, more dignified. They really like it."

At checkout, the items are stacked on areas that correspond to food types and tracked again by color then put in shopping bags and released to the client.

"In an average year we do between 1.4 and 1.5 million pounds food distribution," said Yeatts who said the new model and extended hours meant that more food was likely to make it out to those in need. That also means of course that more volunteer help is needed on certain days when a second shift would really help the organization get the food organized, stocked and then out the door.

New West Seattle Food Bank hours:

  • Tuesday: 9am-1pm (Seniors 55+ only)
  • Wednesday: 12-7pm
  • Thursday: 9am-2pm
  • Friday: 10am-2pm

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