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The Legacy of the
Free Grocery Store

As of December 18, 2023, Sustainable Renton (SR) has suspended our Covid-Relief, Free Grocery Store (FGS). The letter below was devised together with the leadership teams at Sustainable Renton and St. Matthew's Lutheran Church.

We will continue to do what we can to make Renton and the surrounding areas a healthier and happier place for all.
Thank you for reading and for your support.

Dear friends and members of our Beloved Community,

   After years of service, we share the difficult news with you of the closure of the FGS program. Many factors led to this decision: lack of a permanent set-up, of necessary financial resources, and a decline in food availability; to name a few. In this post-Covid climate, we can no longer provide this direct community service to our friends and neighbors.


   We have explored multiple paths to sustain our operations, however, a long-term model is beyond our reach at this time. The reality of this ending is heartbreaking to say the least, but we cannot deny the number of lives we have touched and have been touched by.


   For the past three years, we have been honored to work alongside St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church to serve and to build meaningful connections, within our community. We cannot express our appreciation enough for the unwavering support of St. Matthews, their staff, and all the volunteers in giving this relief effort a home. 


Since the Spring of 2020, we have handed out close to 3 million pounds of quality food and goods to our community. We could not have achieved this without the help of 40-60 volunteers every Monday giving countless hours of their time to ensure the efficient set-up, sorting, operation, and teardown of the FGS every single week. We have done this during the coldest, hottest, rainiest, and windiest days of the year, missing only 5 Mondays.



There has been a lot of energy applied to the Free Grocery Store. While it is sad to see it pause, we all know the good it has brought to the community we love. With that said, our focus will remain on our greater Renton community, on food justice, community gardening, and sustainable practices. We will continue our work towards a Brick-and-Mortar building which will enable us to resume a direct community service model. 


"To sustain this project effectively, we must allocate full-time attention from our officers, necessitating paid positions. Grants are not typically designed for this purpose.”


   We are not giving up the fight for our community, we are working toward restructuring our operation. We are seeking a building and a stable source of funding. We are going to continue to petition our governmental agencies, and seek mutually beneficial collaborations with businesses and other local NGOs as well as individuals to further our campaign.


  Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your lives, and for becoming a part of ours. We look forward to continuing our shared journey towards a brighter, more sustainable future, and hope you will join us in the next chapter.


With heartfelt appreciation and warmest regards,

The Sustainable Renton Leadership Team

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