Food Justice

In recent years, poor economic conditions have increased food insecurity in Washington. Washington’s rising rate of food insecurity exceeds that of the rest of the nation, making it 15th most food insecure in the nation. It is estimated that 25% of children in Washington belong to households that are at risk for hunger.

The Office of Intercultural and Civic Engagement has established two programs, Backpacks of Hope and Food Salvage, to give students an active role in alleviating hunger in Tacoma. Opportunities to volunteer both as a campus group and as an individual are available.

Backpacks of Hope

Backpacks of Hope is the University of Puget Sound chapter of St. Leo’s Backpacks program, which provides food over the weekend to Tacoma public school children who are at-risk for hunger.  Sign up to volunteer during one of our two weekly packing sessions.  Email our Food Justice Programmer here for more information or to sign up.

Food Salvage 

Food Salvage is a program that works in collaboration with Dining & Conference Services to package and deliver food that would normally go to waste to Guadalupe House each week.  Sign up to volunteer during one of our two weekly packing and delivery sessions.  Email our Food Justice Programmer here for more information or to sign up.

Hilltop Urban Gardens (HUG)

HUG's Urban Farm Network grows produce on shared land from neighbors in the Hilltop community and distributes over one ton of fresh fruits and veggies annually through the HUG Grub Food Share. HUG Grub is a weekly farm stand where neighbors come to pick up produce and make a pledge to share their time, talent, and treasure back in the community.  Unlike the Food Salvage and Backpacks for Hope programs that have regular volunteer opportunities coordinated by the CICE Food Justice Programmer, students are encouraged to volunteer directly with Hilltop Urban Gardens (though the CICE does arrange periodic group volunteer opportunities).  Students can help in the gardens every Saturday from 9:30am-1pm at S. 19th & S. Ainsworth. Contact Dean Jackson here or call 206-354-6682 to schedule a group of 6 or more. Smaller groups of individuals are welcome to just show up. No experience is needed. HUG will train you! Just show up in layers appropriate for changing weather conditions. If you need accessibility accommodations, please contact Dean at the contact information above, at least one week prior to volunteering.