The History of the West Seattle Food Bank

 



Pastor Marshall with food bank volunteer, Akira Watson.  Photo credit: Ty Swenson at Westside Weekly / West Seattle Herald, 2013
 

Hunger Immortal: The First Thirty Years

of the West Seattle Food Bank, 1983-2013

Ronald F. Marshall

 

This is no ordinary local history book. After thirty years the history of the West Seattle Food Bank has finally been written – and it is far more than a timeline of dates and places. Instead it is filled with corruption, death, crime and secrets, but also great kindness, dedication, sacrifice and generosity. It is a story that also is filled with many lucky breaks – including the largesse of the famous comedian, Robin Williams.

 

Marshall says that’s one of the reasons he took the last fours years to work on it in his spare time – because of his fascination with luck. Lucky breaks can make such a big difference for the good. And so we can hardly help be interested in how they happen and what we can do to make them more frequent.

 

One of the biggest reasons Marshall gives for writing the book, however, is Earl Allen Vick (1932-1996). Vick was born and raised in West Seattle – a cranky old guy, who died a loner. But when he died there was a will, and in it he gave the vast bulk of his estate to the food bank – which amounted to $335,000.00. When this happened, no one knew why. So Marshall set out in this history to find the answer to that question. While he never finds the answer to his question, he does come up with six approximate reasons for Vick putting the food bank in his will.

 

Marshall also uncovers important information to show that the food bank started in 1983 rather than 1981 as had been previously thought.

 

He also painstakingly shows how the food bank moved from location to location – as a nomadic food bank, as it was called – until it finally built its own facility where it now is. He recounts much of that story on the building of the food bank’s permanent home, and the key people involved in the process.

 

This book is a slice of Americana. Every resident of West Seattle should own one. Sprinkled throughout the book are insights into history and literature, economics and politics. There are over twenty photos in the book – some of them of historic vintage.

 

Marshall has donated the book to the food bank. So by spending $30 to buy a copy of it, all the profits will go to help feed our neighbors in need during the 30th anniversary of the West Seattle Food Bank. Don’t miss out on this chance to make a difference in West Seattle – in the spirit of Earl Allen Vick.