Thursday, September 29, 2022

More than $53 million invested in feeding hungry Washingtonians

Amber Betts
WSDA Communications

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis in 2020, as many as 1 in 3 Washingtonians experienced food insecurity. Chances are you may know someone affected, or have been part of this statistic yourself. Since July of last year, WSDA stepped in and launched a program that has issued more than $82 million in contracts to provide emergency food resources to those people and their families.

In Washington, a federal program benefited many families, farms, and food businesses until it abruptly ended in early 2021. In response, WSDA launched the We Feed WA Pilot Food Program in July 2021 to bring emergency food from Washington-based farms and food businesses to socially disadvantaged people experiencing hunger.

The We Feed WA pilot is the state alternative to the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program that expired in May of 2021. This federally funded pilot program is part of the state’s coordinated response to decrease food insecurity resulting from the COVID-19 crisis and recovery period.

WSDA awarded more than $53 million this year to 21 hunger relief organizations that provide emergency food for the people in our state that need it most. We Feed WA helps hunger relief organizations that serve socially disadvantaged communities continue their work through partnerships with local and regional food producers, farmers and ranchers, processors and distributors.

Award recipients are providing goods and services across the state ranging from providing food directly to hungry Washingtonians, to procurement and unique distribution expertise, and technical assistance. There are five (5) award types;

  • -      Fresh Boxes ($22,124,850)
  • -      Emergency Boxes ($20,113,500)
  • -      Equity-Centered Household & Local Distribution ($2,681,800)
  • -      Supplemental Emergency Food Procurement, Logistics & Distribution ($8,045,400)
  • -      Technical Assistance ($670,450)

Each business and organization have contracted and committed to working alongside WSDA, learning from this pilot program and continuously assessing the needs and barriers that food insecure Washingtonians and food enterprises face.


This program aims to facilitate the procurement and distribution of emergency food across Washington state to hunger relief organizations, including organizations that serve black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), and other socially disadvantaged communities as directed by the Washington State Legislature while increasing the vitality of regional farms and food businesses.

Current contract awards range from $150,000 to more than $9 million. A diverse pool of Community Reviewers determined awards based on application scores.

For more information, visit or email The pilot program is part of WSDA’s Focus on Food Initiative, ensuring safe, nutritious, local food is effectively produced and available throughout our state.