BBBSPS addresses food insecurity in the COVID-19 era with Fresh Market.


Through the new Free Fresh Market program, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound and the Emergency Feeding Program are working together to distribute delicious groceries to families in need.  

No family should worry about how they will put food on the table, yet for many, food insecurity is a constant challenge. Due to COVID-19 layoffs, school shutdowns, and shelter-in-place orders, more and more parents are struggling to feed their kids.   

Big Brothers Big Sisters is stepping up to meet this need, partnering with the Emergency Feeding Program to provide free groceries to families and individuals who have little or no access to nutritious foods.

Paula Sardinas, President and CEO of BBBSPS

The Fresh Market program offers bags of groceries two days a week at satellite partner locations. Each Fresh Market bag includes enough food for a family of 4 to prepare three meals for a total of 12 meals. The healthcare disparity that also plagues communities of color, our meals focus on nutritious fruits and vegetables that are not always readily available through food banks. We distribute 80-160 pre-packed grocery bags during each pick-up window, and every site is open to the public. Distribution windows are typically 2 hours, but the need is so great that the food is usually gone in under an hour.

For those unable to visit a distribution site, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound is also delivering Fresh Market bags directly to homes of their program kids, parents, and mentors.

President and CEO Paula Sardinas is passionate about taking care of all Big Brothers Big Sisters kids, parents, volunteer mentors, and employees affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Our team is checking in with all families and individuals involved with our mentoring programs, ensuring that everyone who needs a Fresh Market bag will receive one.

“In just 45 days, the BBBS team delivered over 250 thousand pounds to the communities we serve.  Under the leadership of our new CEO, Paula Sardinas, we have pivoted to have a targeted impact during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Chelsey Owen, BBBSPS Board Chair 

Market sites in Renton, Enumclaw, Tacoma, Auburn, West Seattle, South Seattle, and Central Seattle. All locations are open every week except for the two Tacoma sites alternating biweekly.

We are committed to continuing the Fresh Market partnership even after the pandemic ends, providing a longer-term solution to combat food disparities in our community.

“As of  May 15th, this partnership has distributed 251,804 pounds of food with Big Brothers Big Sisters trucks which equate to be 209,836 meals. Total distributed via BBBSPS networks 37,590 pounds of food and 31,325 meals.”

Carmen Mitchell, Director of Donations Center & Fresh Market

As we grapple with these challenging times, it is vital to think of the most vulnerable in our communities. We must ensure that people who have lost jobs and income can weather the storm. Through the Fresh Market, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Emergency Feeding Program have created a solution to close disparities in access to healthy foods.

Our #FreshMarket is open today! Get directions/times here: Again #Big thanks to our community…

Posted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound on Friday, May 15, 2020

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound:

It is our vision that all youth achieve their full potential. Rooted in the Puget Sound region for more than 60 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters creates and supports 1-to-1 mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. We offer mentoring opportunities in communities, schools, and workplaces across King and Pierce counties.