Campaign supports local business and feeds over 100 with Cuisine for Clients program

Our year-end campaign came with a promise: To dedicate a portion of our proceeds to our Cuisine for Clients program. Following on that promise, we set off to support SNAP clients representing different programs at the start of the month. Support from donors like you meant that we were able to purchase 119 meals at full price from one of our small business partners, Alpine Deli, and provide these meals for residents at one of our affordable housing properties.

When I arrived at the deli and met new volunteer from Umpqua Bank, Cheryll, preparations were already in full swing. To say this was a family affair is an understatement – restaurant owners Andrea and husband Darin were running the kitchen at Alpine Deli with an assistant, preparing tasty German meals complete with brats, sauerkraut, and amazingly indulgent brownies. Andrea’s grown children, Jake and Germaine, were greeting incoming patrons while boxing up the meals. Germaine noted that she usually isn’t in the restaurant, but manages their social media presence, while one sister maintains their website and another sister helps with special projects. Andrea and Darin’s 1 and 2-year-old grandchildren were patiently overseeing the process! Cheryll and I gloved up to help bag the meals and transport them to the cars.

Cuisine for Clients started last year as a way to turn supporter donations into direct help for our small business partners and our clients at SNAP properties. In 2020, we were able to support five local restaurants and deliver meals to over 450 clients at seven properties.

After all of the Alpine Deli meals were ready, we transported them to a housing complex in North Spokane – they filled two vehicles! Once there, we met another volunteer joining us from Umpqua Bank, Janet, and my SNAP teammate, Anwar Peace, who is a Community Health Worker (CHW) on the Ride to Health team. SNAP CHWs are trusted frontline personnel who typically come from the communities they serve with the goal of bridging cultural and linguistic barriers, expanding access to coverage and care, and improving health outcomes by focusing on whole-person health. Anwar was joining us to help distribute the meals, as well as to make connections with these potential clients and educate them about a new opportunity: the SNAP Affordable Housing COVID Recovery Program – a program specifically designed to help residents in our affordable housing properties who have been impacted by COVID-19.

Anwar’s role is to guide residents to community resources to help with a variety of social determinants of health they are experiencing during this pandemic. Some of these services include: assistance with filling out unemployment applications, and support in accessing food resources, mental and physical health resources, and rental assistance programs. Residents are also able to access SNAP’s transportation services to access rides to medical or dental appointments if they are Covid-19 symptom free.

We quickly dispersed, knocking on doors and handing off the meals for each person in a unit. Having received a heads up, some were expecting us. Some were surprised but all were very grateful for the delicious meal. We provided SNAP flyers and Anwar was able to provide information about his program. One resident, Julie, who has lived on the property for six years, graciously allowed us to take a picture of her and her boys, 6 and 18 months. Like others, she welcomed the food and was appreciative of the support and generosity from donors.


Partner Ramada Downtown Spokane steps up to help clients in need

A February cold snap in Spokane means chilly times for everyone, but for our unhoused neighbors, it can be life-threatening. When the City of Spokane reached out to SNAP to help homeless clients get access to emergency hotel stays, SNAP needed some extra support. For some of these neighbors, overnight stays in a shelter may not be an option, due to capacity issues, or may be unsafe if they have medical concerns that put them at increased risk due to the pandemic. Luckily, SNAP outreach staff were able to call on the amazing team at the Ramada Downtown Spokane to help these clients get the shelter they needed. They went above and beyond, delivering breakfast to the guests’ rooms and springing in to action when needed. They worked to ensure that all guests staying during the cold snap were safe following the program and COVID procedures. Without this partnership, SNAP clients – our neighbors – would have been out on the streets, facing the worst. THANK YOU Ramada Downtown Spokane, for being Neighbors by our Side!


2021 DAD’S DAY DASH… IT’S COMING!

Last year we had a great turnout for our Virtual Dad’s Day Dash – participants in 12 states signed up to help raise funds for SNAP, and did some Dash-ing in their own locales. But it wasn’t the same! This year won’t be back to normal, BUT, we will be offering both an in-person race (with Covid precautions and staggered starts) and a virtual option! Registration opens March 9th Visit www.snapwa.org/ddd5k to express your interest and get the most updated information!