Hunger is an ever-present reality for many people in the Pacific Northwest. According to a study by Brandeis University's Center on Hunger & Poverty, in 2002.  According to the Washington's Emergency Food Assistance Program, in 2002 the state's 320 food banks provided food for more than 1.2 million people, half of whom were children. On average, nearly 5 percent of Washington households and 6 percent of Oregon households go hungry at some point during the year. Diverse arrays of organizations are working to address the challenges of hunger in America. Below are several of the key organizations in the state of Washington.

Children's Alliance (
The Children's Alliance is a coalition of 128 organizations that have joined in a united effort to promote the health and well-being of all children in Washington state. Hunger and nutrition are among their primary concerns.

Emergency Food Network (
The Emergency Food Network distributes food to more than 70 food banks, hot meal sites, and shelters in Pierce County. The Network preserves food through its Cannery Project and has an 8 acre organic farm called Mother Earth Farm where volunteers grow, glean, gather, transport, sort and pack 100,000 pounds of fresh produce for low-income children and families in their community.

Food Lifeline (
Utilizing a variety of innovative programs, Food Lifeline distributes 18.5 million pounds of surplus food each year to more than 630,000 people through a network of 253 emergency feeding programs in Western Washington.

Food Resource Network Federation (
This Seattle-based federation links five major food banks, a home delivery food service, and community gardens. In addition to responding to emergency needs, one of the Federation's goals is to empower people to become self-sufficient. Member organizations provide infant foods and supplies, gardening instruction and seeds, foods for special dietary needs, instruction on food preparation, and referrals for those needing additional services.

Hopelink (
Hopelink assists families become self-sufficient through a wide variety of programs, including housing, transportation, literacy and child development. Hopelink's Food Program distributes to six food banks, and Harvest for Humanity provides volunteers to assist local farmers harvest crops for distribution to the hungry.

Northwest Harvest (
Northwest Harvest supplies 16 million pounds of food per year to over 300 food banks and meal programs across the state through warehouses in King, Grays Harbor, Stevens, and Yakima counties. In an average month, these programs provide approximately one-half million services to people in need. More than half of those served are children and the elderly.

Rotary First Harvest (
Since 1982 Rotary First Harvest has gathered nearly 80 million pounds of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and processed food from farmers, packers and processors for food banks in Washington state and other needy parts of our region.

Solid Ground (formerly Fremont Public Association) (
The Fremont Public Association provides for a wide variety of community needs through a diverse array of Food Resources programs for adults and children served by 27 food banks. Operation Frontline offers free cooking classes, taught by volunteer chefs and nutritionists, to low-income individuals and their families. They help people learn to garden and encourage local gardeners to donate to the food bank system through Lettuce Link.

Washington Food Coalition (
Representing more than 275 organizations, the Coalition provides advocacy and support for a broad range of anti-hunger activities across the state.