Happy New Year! 2020 was incredibly tough and tragic for so many, and it is nice to put it in the rearview mirror. However, it did help our food bank forge new partnerships, demonstrate how nimble and resilient we can be and has given me renewed energy to keep pushing forward for improved access to food for hungry people all across Whatcom County. Thank you for all the support you gave our work in 2020.

Bellingham Food Bank is committed to getting people the food they want, need and deserve. In order to do this we know we will need to keep growing and improving. A lot of our new work in 2021 will focus on making sure we are doing a better job providing Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) access to the food they want. We know that locally and nationally, BIPOC folks, due to the structural racism that continues in this country, are disproportionately food insecure. And, Bellingham Food Bank has not been as sensitive or aware of the barriers we have created for these communities. We are going to do better. 

In 2021 we will continue partnering with Lummi Nation and work with that community to support increased food security on Lummi Nation. We are dedicated to having a good relationship with Lummi Food Bank and Lummi Health Clinic and will build upon these partnerships to give those living on Lummi Nation even more access to good food.

We have even more work to do with Nooksack Tribe. We are reaching out to Nooksack Tribe and will listen to what food support Tribal Members need and will cooperatively create improved food access for individuals and families who are part of Nooksack Tribe.

In addition to these new initiatives, Bellingham Food Bank will improve upon the diversity of food it offers to food bank families. We have improved and will continue improving sourcing food that is enjoyed and familiar to the broad array of cultural backgrounds and experiences of all food bank families. In 2021 we will make foods like masa, salmon, tomatillos, lentils, and chickpea flour more consistently available to people who visit our food bank. These foods have been requested among members of communities of color and we are committed to sourcing them as regularly as other products we have come to purchase over the years. We are going to keep expanding our knowledge of what foods are familiar and essential to all of the families that visit us.

These are just some of the plans we have for growth in 2021. We will take on these new efforts without reducing our current services and programs. I hope you are as excited about these new initiatives and our ongoing work as I am. Please join us in helping to feed all of our neighbors.

-Mike Cohen,
Executive Director

Our food bank services can currently be accessed at the following locations:

Drive/Bike/Walk Up

Tuesdays & Thursdays
Distribution Site, 1175 Jersey St
1-4 PM
Christ the King Church Parking Lot, 4173 Meridian St
3-6 PM

Home Delivery

Food boxes are delivered to homes weekly on Fridays, available to folks who are in high-risk categories for COVID-19 and cannot access other distributions. Sign ups for home delivery happen through Whatcom Unified Command online at:
2020 brought new challenges that we met with innovation and commitment to our mission of fighting hunger in our community. The health and safety of the families we serve and the staff and volunteers we work with became a main focus, leading to the shift from our typical shopping model to pre-packed food boxes distributed outdoors. While we miss the choice and relative ease of our shopping model, our goals of providing a dignified experience open to all in need remained at the heart of our decisions. 

When we shifted away from our shopping model, we also stopped our computer-based check-in process. This meant forgoing some of the ways we were able to quantify and describe who is accessing our services. We also paused our grocery rescue program in March, so our food sources changed dramatically.

Numbers only tell part of our story. The work we do is for people, and their stories are numerous. We continue to be inspired, humbled and motivated by the lives of the families we have the privilege of working with, and we extend to you that you are part of bringing hope to so many lives when you support our work.
A new year can bring renewed interest in goal setting. If your goals include getting more involved in our local community, consider volunteering for these hunger relief activities!

Food Bank Box Packing

Our food bank now distributes pre-packed boxes of fresh and shelf-stable food. Volunteer crews take part in a socially distanced assembly line five days per week to pack hundreds of boxes per shift.

Food Bank Distribution

Volunteer crews help to distribute pre-packed boxes of food at outdoor distribution sites three days per week. They also help with set up and clean up.

Home Delivery Driving

Individuals are assigned home delivery routes once per week that they complete in their own vehicle. Volunteer drivers pick up pre-packed food boxes from Bellingham Food Bank to then deliver to a small list of locations grouped near each other.

Visit to learn more about volunteering for BFB!