A Labor of Love: DeMark Apartments’ New Food Pantry

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The global pandemic has tremendously impacted communities in Pierce County and left many feeling isolated, disconnected and struggling with a lack of resources to meet their basic needs. This is why Safe Streets, Building Beyond the Walls, and Andersen Construction joined together to provide assistance to people experiencing food insecurity.

Sue Z. Hart, Founder of Building Beyond the Walls, and her team sought to develop a way to help people within their local community who were struggling with access to food. You might have heard of their incredible Pantry Project where community members are given the opportunity to build their own Mini Pantry for their neighborhoods.

“[We] want to be part of the solution,” said Hart about her team’s commitment to serving the community in spite of the challenges the pandemic has brought to organizations and businesses across the city.

When Aileen Sunde, Communications Manager of Andersen Construction, learned of Building Beyond the Walls’ Pantry Project, she saw an opportunity for the two organizations to work together for the common good. Andersen Construction partnered with them to participate in a friendly competition to build mini pantries that would help provide food in areas struggling with food insecurity.

One of the mini pantries was built by Chad Furstenwerth, a Senior Superintendent, and his team used reclaimed materials from the US Bank Centre in Seattle. The wood paneling was mahogany, formerly hung in the building’s elevator lobbies and the stand, or pedestal, was re-purposed from some light posts that used to line the clerestory in the bank.

However, the most striking feature of this mini pantry is the stone heart Furestenwerth’s team cut from marble that represents Building Beyond the Walls’ love for serving the community.

“It was the one thing the pantry absolutely had to have. The heart is at the center of everything we do,” said Hart.

After the pantry was completed, Hart then got in contact with RoxAnne Simon and Sarah DuBois from Safe Streets who had been collaborating with local organizations to get food pantries built and placed throughout the Key Peninsula and surrounding areas. One of which was DeMark Apartments in unincorporated Pierce County.

Last summer, Safe Streets group members from DeMark Apartments and several Safe Streets staff gathered to assemble a community garden, and now community members are even more delighted to have another opportunity to share food with one another now that the food pantry is in place.