Gates Foundation bolsters food banks with grants

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced $1.4 million in grants for food relief agencies, including one that serves Federal Way.

The foundation will split the grants among Food Lifeline, the Oregon Food Bank and Second Harvest Food Bank of the Inland Northwest.

Food Lifeline, which serves most of Western Washington including Federal Way, will receive $900,000, according to Meredith Swinehart of the Gates Foundation.

Food banks have seen high increases in demand this year. In Washington state, there was a 15 percent increase of new clients in the first quarter of 2008, and a 28 percent increase in the second quarter.

The foundation said that the funds will help bring in more than 23 million pounds of food in the next several years, and with the food organizations, will help serve more than 18 million meals to people in need.

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