The Wave Foundation Logs Impressive Results in 2020

Wave Foundation food distribution

Like many organizations that focus on public policy, the COVID pandemic upended the Network’s best intentions for 2020. At the start of the year, we planned to continue working on upholding and strengthening the science and conservation-based mandates in federal fisheries policy. As the pandemic’s economic fallout became apparent, we shifted our attention to supporting fishing communities, working waterfronts and the seafood supply chain.

The unprecedented economic impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic have had a devastating effect on one of the essential American economic drivers – small businesses. Many Network members, including commercial fishing operators, guides, outfitters, processors, purveyors, and chefs, are small business owners charting new courses to continue in business and provide our nation with sustainable, high-quality, domestic seafood, as well as life-affirming recreational opportunities.

One of the projects we take great pride in saying we helped is The Wave Foundation’s Food Program. This program provides healthy and sustainable food to communities in need. The Wave’s Food Program was brought to our attention by Linda Behnken and Kevin Scribner, our National Policy Council’s co-chairs.

The Wave’s Food Program undertook efforts to feed the food insecure, get people back to work, and create more food resilient communities. It gave assistance and sourcing preference to Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities and producers.

Of particular note is their work with the Tribal communities in the Pacific Northwest. They made a concerted effort to not only bring high-quality, nutritious food to people in need, but also to commit to and then delivered on a promise to source and deliver Tribal traditional foods in the food boxes. This respect for Tribal values and needs was greatly appreciated by Tribal elders.

“As a Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Tribal Elder, I am pleased for this Wave Foundation team helping our Tribal members getting away from processed foods and eating out at fast food companies,” said Delson Suppah, Sr., Tribal Elder of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. “It will take a long time for our Tribal members to begin eating just traditional foods once again. I have happy tears in my heart and mind for getting to witness an outside entity help make this a reality. I thank all involved with this vital traditional foods venture for a healthy lifestyle.”

The Wave’s impact last year was impressive. Take a look at these numbers from their impact summary. You can download a copy of the report here.


  • 110,000 lbs. of seafood donated to The Wave Foundation (Alaskans Own lingcod, sablefish, and salmon)
  • 60,825 lbs. of seafood purchased by The Wave Foundation (Fishpeople Seafood and Columbia River salmon)
  • 23,875 lbs. of Tribally caught Columbia River salmon purchased for Tribal Nation communities
  • 50,000 lbs. of Alaskans Own sustainable Alaskan salmon donated to Alaska’s active-duty military members and their families on bases and through deliveries to remote locations via Armed Services YMCA of Alaska, where military members have limited food access

Food Boxes & Meals

  • Approx. 40,000 Tribal Nation community members impacted
  • 205,000+ lbs. of food items (non-seafood) purchased for food boxes and distribution
  • 251,000+ lbs. of food recovered
  • 143,000+ meal equivalents served
  • 29,000+ hot meals served
  • 1,800+ lbs. of Alaskans Own lingcod distributed to Colville and Spokane Tribes
  • 2,750+ USDA Farmers to Families food boxes distributed by The Wave Foundation
  • 1,085+ food boxes distributed to the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation
  • 2,000+ food boxes distributed to the Nez Perce Tribe

Procurement, Distribution & Other Support

  • Prior to initiating the Tribal Nation community focused program, The Wave Foundation partnered with 36+ community organizations in the Northwest to support more than 650,000 people facing food insecurity with food donations representing over 4,000,000 meal equivalents
  • 45+ individuals compensated for labor associated with The Wave Foundation’s Food Program (seafood labor not included)
  • 700+ fishers and fish workers compensated for labor associated with The Wave Foundation’s Food Program
  • 56+ agricultural businesses supported with purchases by The Wave Foundation’s Food Program
  • 6,048+ bottles of water provided to Tribal Nation Communities
  • 6,375+ hot meals distributed to those impacted by the Detroit, OR and southern Oregon wildfires
  • 20,000+ miles driven for food distribution efforts (miles are pending carbon offsets)
  • 730 animal pens from Jewett Cameron provided to southern Oregon and Warm Springs, OR
  • 40 generator and equipment packages provided to Columbia River Fishing Access Site communities
  • 300 adult sized masks and 200 child sized masks donated from Looptworks and distributed by The Wave Foundation to Tribal Nation communities
  • 2,100+ food boxes distributed to Columbia River Tribal Nation Fishing Access Site communities
  • 1,600+ food boxes distributed to the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon
  • 1,200+ food boxes distributed to Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe and the Burns Paiute Tribe
  • 2,100+ food boxes distributed to Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
  • 150 culturally relevant Latino food boxes distributed to Hood River, OR school district communities

Looking Ahead

2021 dawned with 2020’s challenges still here. The Wave’s work is as important today as it was a year ago. They plan to work with the Biden administration, Congress, and local government to use the successes and the lessons learned to expand the food box program beyond the Pacific Northwest. They will use the knowledge gained last year to help reform food systems in the country, focusing their efforts on reaching food sovereignty and better supporting food insecure communities. At the same time, they will look to find ways to improve sourcing of healthy, sustainable, regional foods, especially seafood, from BIPOC, women-owned enterprises, and Tribal Nation producers.

About Tom Sadler

Tom Sadler is the Network's deputy director. He has an extensive background in advocacy and journalism and a passion for oceans and fly-fishing. 

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