SEATTLE - We often take for granted the ability to provide food on the table and this pandemic has shown just how much harder it has been for so many more people. But one woman in Ballard is hoping to change that, one box at a time.
When you go throughout different neighborhoods in Seattle, you may have noticed red boxes called Little Free Libraries. This is where people can provide or borrow books for free. What Cecilia Venzon is doing, is similar to that, but with food.
Venzon is a registered nurse and a University of Washington graduate. She has seen first-hand food insecurity, or food insufficiency increase since the pandemic started, even years prior.
So, with inspiration from a local church and others, she decided to leave a food box inside the Little Free Libraries for people experiencing food insecurity.
"Basically giving the people the opportunity to get food even though we have limited time, and limited volunteers in the food banks," said Venzon.
She has placed three boxes so far in the Ballard neighborhood. Inside of the boxes is food items like peanut butter, oats, and canned tuna or chicken.
"And I also place a note with the box that says please take what you can, and leave what you can," she said.
Food insecurity has increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic. Food banks throughout the region have struggled to keep up with demand. Recent King County statistics show that food insufficiency has doubled since March. Enrollment in basic food assistance programs has increase by more than 17,000 households during that same time period.
Reasons for not having enough food include simply not having enough money, or people being too embarrassed or afraid to ask for help.
"Sometimes, it's really hard to ask for help. It just gives back in a very nice and private way," said Venzon.
Venzon said she is glad to help others, but hope more will take part.
"Even though I don't know who's being helped out by my food box, I just feel fantastic that someone is getting help, and someone's not hungry," she said.