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Community Kitchens program addresses food insecurity

Community Roots Housing has joined forces with three other affordable housing developers to support affordable housing residents and local restaurants during this time. Alongside Bellwether Housing, Mercy Housing Northwest, and the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority, we are coordinating the order and delivery of meals from local restaurants to residents who have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

This innovative partnership works to address two pressing challenges:

  • a growing need to provide food for Seattle-area residents
  • supporting local businesses impacted by social distancing guidelines

The Community Kitchens for Affordable Housing Residents program utilizes local restaurant partners to prepare catered meals for neighbors in need who have been laid off from jobs or who are experiencing food insecurity as a result of the pandemic.

The coronavirus crisis has had severe economic impacts. Layoffs and lost wages have been devastating for their residents, many of whom are hourly wage workers, service industry workers, or depend on gig economy wages.

Commercial tenants are also experiencing reduced revenue as they adhere to coronavirus public health social distancing guidelines.

“The economic impact on residents of affordable housing and on the culinary community has been swift. Working together to meet the skyrocketing need for food assistance and giving a boost to these small businesses is the kind of collaborative approach our current situation demands,” said Marcia Wright-Soika of Mercy Housing Northwest. 

Restaurants will create culturally and dietarily-responsive meal kits that are easily portable to food-insecure families, individuals, and at-risk seniors, allowing housing providers to meet food insecurity needs safely. Some restaurant partners include the South End’s Seattle Kitchen Collective (Musang Seattle, Sugar Hill, That Brown Girl Cooks!), Mojitos, Kay Catering and Pho Bac Sup Shop, among others.

Chef Kay Kim, of Kay Catering, is one of the confirmed Community Kitchens participating in the program. The business recently lost 80 percent of its revenue.

“Small business owners in the food industry are hit hard,” says Kim, “Connecting food business owners to prepare meals for the underserved is a win-win for the most vulnerable in Seattle. Bank of America’s funding [of this program] is keeping people employed, small businesses open, and feeding those who can’t afford to get food delivered to their homes.”

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