Bellevue food bank helping hundreds of families every week

Three days a week, a line extends outside from the bottom floor of a Bellevue church along Bel-Red Road.

Inside, it’s festive and crowded and Phillip Peters wouldn’t have it any other way.

"All are welcome, we’ve never turned away anyone," Peters said.

Renewal Food Bank is like no other. 

The diversity of the food reflects the diversity of the people who walk in seeking fresh produce to lean meats and everything in between.

 Peters and Winnie Au run the place. They are the only full-time workers at Renewal Food Bank.

"We want to change everyone’s mindset about a food bank," Au said.

 Au says she wants to empower families to make healthy meals.

 That kind of warmth has changed the life of Montserrat Martinez.

 "Very welcoming, openhearted," Martinez said.


Free summer meal programs available for WA children, teens

With children and teens home for the summer, several districts throughout the region have set up programs to ensure youth can still receive a free meal during the next couple of months.

Martinez says after paying rent, her family does not have enough for the basics.

 "We would have food for our siblings, our younger siblings, but for the rest of us we wouldn’t have much," Martinez said.

Her family is eating better because of Renewal Food Bank. 

They are so grateful that Martinez and her mom are now volunteering, handing out groceries and cleaning the kitchen. 

 Peters says the food bank would not be possible without the dozens of volunteers who show up.

They feed 500 families every week from all over Western Washington. 

A family can often get up to $200 worth of groceries a week.

"We are 100% donation based, all of our foods are food rescue or individual donations," Peters said.

Peters says big and small grocery stores donate to them as well as restaurants. 

 "That food rescue amounts to 300,000 pounds rescued from the last 6 months reduced from the landfill," Peters said.

In other words, they are fighting hunger and food waste at the same time.

 The demand has doubled in the last two years, and Peters is asking for new partnerships so they can gather more food to help more people.

Renewal Food Bank is open Monday to Wednesday. If you need food or if you want to donate, the food bank can be reached at  


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