By Matt Nagle
Despite steady rainfall, an afternoon Seahawks game and the final day of the Washington State Fair, people came out to support the first ever Foodstock on Sept. 22 at the LeMay car museum.
All wrapped up in raincoats and rubber boots, guests had a great time dancing to the music of two iconic Northwest music makers, the Randy Oxford Band and the Jerry Miller Band, and both bands played like they were in front of a sold-out crowd. Thirst Responder braved the elements to set up their beer garden, along with vendors Jonz Catering and Dawg Eat Dogs. Volunteers from Tacoma Adventist Community Services Food Bank helped everything run smoothly throughout the day. A big “thank you” goes out to LeMay-America’s Car Museum and their sales manager Ann Sweeney for their generous help to make Foodstock possible.
Presented by Tacoma Weekly’s sister newspaper, the Weekly Weedly, Foodstock enjoyed support and participation from Tacoma cannabis shops Green Token and World of Weed, which is donating 5 percent of all edibles sales this month to the Adventist Community Services Food Bank.
Through sales of specially made Foodstock tie-dyed T-shirts, and non-perishable food donations that guests brought with them, the food bank received a nice takeaway from the event.
“We really appreciated everyone coming out. The experience my volunteers got, they really enjoyed it,” said Adventist Community Services Food Bank Executive Director Leslie Badgley. “And the people that were there, it was nice to see them dance. I saw one couple dancing together and it was really special. It was a rainy day but people were still cheering and participating. It will be an even greater time when we do it again.”
Now that Foodstock is in the history books, keep a watch out for different “food-raising” music events coming soon at various venues around Tacoma.
In order to serve more clients, and more efficiently, Badgley and the food bank crew are searching for a new location. Where the food bank is now, at 3108 Portland Ave. E., not only has the operation outgrown the space, the area has seen a rapid rise in crime over the past several months including the killing of young Puyallup tribal members just blocks away.
Getting out of the Eastside would help the food bank to be located in a much safer area. Gang violence and shootings have turned the Eastside into a war zone of late, igniting marches and rallies for peace and a proclamation by Tacoma City Council and Mayor Victoria Woodards to end the gun violence. Now with the Puyallup Tribe’s new casino set to open in a few months just up the street from the food bank, the chances of even more trouble looms, as the Emerald Queen Casino has always been a magnet for those with ill intent and those who choose to live on the streets. Once the light rail is installed in the area, it could bring even more such elements to the neighborhood.
At one point the Puyallup Tribe wanted to buy the building that houses the food bank, but Bagdley said that selling it outright would not give her enough money to buy anything better. Once she declined to sell to the tribe, the tribe’s annual contribution of $50,000 stopped coming.
“We need to get some fundraising and donors to help us out,” she said.
What the Adventist Community Services Food Bank is doing is critical to the well being of hundreds of people in Pierce County who rely on it for basic needs. Unlike most food banks, Adventist Community Services serves those who are on restrictive diets due to medical conditions like heart disease and cancer. People don’t go there to pick up a few items like at a grocery store. Rather, food bank volunteers pick and choose the right kinds of foods and deliver to their clients who can’t get out and collect food for themselves. This year, the food bank is focusing on developing a sound diet plan for those on dialysis, working with nutritionists and longtime partners Emergency Food Network, Northwest Harvest and Food Lifeline to receive as much healthy foods for clients as they can.
Badgley’s efforts represent a grassroots movement to effectively solve the hunger crisis. Instead of relying on the government, she and the food bank staff take matters into their own hands to get food to people who need it. There are numerous ways that the public can help, from making financial donations to offering some volunteer time. It’s easy to do – just go to www.tacoma-acs.org.