LAKEWOOD — The M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust is contributing $50,000 towards replacing Emergency Food Network’s roof, but that’s not the only good news for the organization’s effort to raise $300,000 to secure the county’s emergency food supply with a new roof. The Trust has also agreed to provide an additional $50,000 in matching funds for the project if EFN can raise $50,000 more. The Puyallup Tribe of Indians has already contributed $50,000. Combined with $10,000 from EFN’s Board of Directors and nearly $60,000 from in-kind donations of materials, and the light at the end of the tunnel is quite visible.
“We’re overwhelmed by the generosity of the Murdock Charitable Trust and the Puyallup Tribe of Indians,” says EFN Executive Director Helen McGovern. “The long-term stability of our structure is essential in order to protect Pierce County’s emergency food supply. With demand for food up more than 45% in the past two years and over 145,000 people visiting feeding programs each month, there’s no question that this is an important project.”
More than 14 million pounds of food valued at $18.5 million moves through Emergency Food Network’s Warehouse Distribution Center in Lakewood every year. At any given time, pallets of canned beans, soups, fresh produce, frozen salmon patties, and peanut butter tower above warehouse volunteers and forklift operators. It comes from a multitude of sources; food drives, donations from food distributors, government commodity deliveries. EFN also purchases more than $500,000 of staple items annually. All of the food is distributed at no cost 67 food banks, meal sites, and shelters in Pierce County.
EFN’s 22,500 square foot warehouse has two walk-in refrigerators and a large walk-in freezer. A fleet of two trailers and two box vans help to transport tens of thousands of pounds of food every week. The goal, says McGovern, is to replace an old and inefficient roof. “One of our strategic priorities is to protect Pierce County’s food supply to the best of our ability, and our assessment of the state of our structure is that we can better achieve this goal with a new roof,” Leaks are not uncommon, and wear and tear is apparent. Though EFN has occupied the facility since 1994, the building is much older.
EFN’s mission is to “provide a reliable food supply so that no person in Pierce County goes hungry.” The organization distributes $12 worth of food for every $1 donated. The organization welcomes financial donations to help collect the last $50,000 needed to replace their roof. Once collected, the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust will release their matching dollars, bringing the total Murdock contribution to $100,000.