"Folks are looking at their family budget and a stack of bills and deciding, 'alright, we've got to keep our heat on,'" Seng said.
The opening of new food pantries like the one at Kingsley Baptist Church helps alleviate high demand. Seng said new pantries should look to work with established programs like the Northwest Food Coalition, whose member agencies serve more than 22,000 meals each month, to learn the tried-and-true practices of successful pantries.
"When folks count on you to feed their family, it is so much responsibility," Seng said.
Kingsley pantry organizers already are talking about joining the coalition. For now, though, they plan to expand slowly. The pantry will be open from 1 to 3 p.m. on the second and fourth Fridays of each month.
"If it grows so big we have a lot of people in line we might have to change that," Harrison said. "Who knows where this can lead in the future."