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August 18, 2023

Jennifer Stephens
Bellingham SeaFeast

Boat to Table: Feeding Whatcom Communities

SeaFeast and PNW Plateful Join Forces to Battle Food Insecurity with Nutritious Meals

In Whatcom County over 4,000 families per week go without food. SeaFeast and PNW Plateful, with support from Lummi Nation, Alaska Gold Seafood Cooperative, Birchwood Food Desert Fighters and the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center, are coming together to launch a campaign to battle food insecurity and to provide nutritious locally sourced seafood-based meals to the county’s culturally diverse families in need.

“Our locally sourced and nutritious seafood should be accessible to everyone,” said Kevin Coleman, SeaFeast Program Director. “For the past eight years SeaFeast has partnered with many organizations and our tribal communities to highlight this bounty we have here in Whatcom County, and we are proud to partner with PNW Plateful, our maritime and fishing industries, and other organizations battling food insecurity to provide this much needed resource for our families in need.”

The seafood and locally sourced meals will be made and packaged by Sarah Chan, Executive Director of PNW Plateful and owner of Calypso Kitchen. Over the summer, 500+ meals will be distributed at gatherings and events throughout the county.

“PNW Plateful plays a critical role in food security for Whatcom County,” said Stephanie Bowers, Board Chair of PNW Plateful. “Our approach is simple and direct—to get high quality and delicious food to hungry individuals and families. For this reason, we are excited to partner with SeaFeast and our fishing community.”

Initial gatherings and community meals will include: August 18 Lummi Nation Commod Squad and Food Bank; August 26 Birchwood Food Desert Saturday Meals; and September East Whatcom Regional Resource Center & Foothills Food Bank Community Meal.

“As a Lummi Tribal member who has lived in the Lummi Community all my life, I have been taught the importance of our natural resources.  Seafood is an important nutritious staple of our diets, and we are always appreciative of seafood provided to our families,” said Ad'ol'its'e Constance Martin, Manager Little Bear Creek/Senior Programs. “Utilizing the foods from the water and the foods grown near our homeland will be a welcome addition to food provided at Lummi Food Bank.”

“The East Whatcom Community Meals program is excited to have SeaFeast and the Boat to Table campaign host a Community Meal at the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center on September 5th,” said Cheryl Thompson, East Whatcom Community Meals liason for the Foothills Community Food Partnership. “The cost of seafood is often outside the budget of many households in the Foothills region and we welcome the generosity of SeaFeast and the Boat to Table campaign in bringing this wonderful meal to our community's residents.”

SeaFeast and PNW Plateful intend to continue the Boat to Table program through 2024.

About SeaFeast

The SeaFeast story began in 1996 when the City of Bellingham, the Lummi Nation and the Port came together to honor our maritime heritage with a signature festival on Bellingham Bay. The mission of SeaFeast is to celebrate our maritime culture & heritage, thriving working waterfront, enjoyment & conservation of our water resources, commercial fishing & seafood industries, and the culinary bounty of our corner of the Pacific Northwest. Bellingham SeaFeast is the only Whatcom County festival held during National Seafood Month, and the only non-profit promoting and hosting year-round workshops, educational programs and events that promote the healthy benefits of seafood and to rejoice in our working waterfront.

About PNW Plateful

PNW Plateful plays a critical role in food security for Whatcom County. Their work is to nourish our vulnerable community one plate-full at a time. From the start of the pandemic, through the aftermath of the Nooksack river flood, founder Sarah Chan of Calypso Kitchen has prepared, packaged, and provided 200+ nutritious meals every week through distribution networks. They are currently providing meals via a partnership with the Bellingham Food Bank, and through Northwest Youth Services, the YWCA, and the Birchwood Food Desert Fighters.

With support from a Project Neighborly grant from the Whatcom Community Foundation, Mount Baker Foundation, SaviBank, Samson Rope, Alaska Gold Seafood, Essential Organics, and Osprey Hill Farms.

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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