Second Harvest’s main objective hasn’t changed since it was first founded in 1971 in Spokane as the Spokane Food Bank, and that is to be able to resource large quantities of fresh food to those in need. Melissa Cloninger, Director of Community and Corporate Relations explains where the bulk of that fresh product comes from.
CLONINGER: We have been resourcing food from area farmers. Now by area I’m speaking of within our “Feeding America” designated service area, which is twenty-one counties of eastern Washington and five counties of north Idaho. The bulk and majority of the produce that is donated to us comes from mainly central Washington.
Each year sees a bigger need and a greater response to that need from growers donating fresh food items.
CLONINGER: Last year we distributed about 21 million pounds of food to the 250 neighborhood food banks and meal programs that we serve in eastern Washington and north Idaho, and of that, well over 7 million pounds was fresh produce alone. 99.9 percent of it was donated by area growers.
In the last few months they’ve seen an astounding 25% increase of those in need. Cloninger reports that earlier this month a two year collaboration with the Washington beef community, in which the beef community raises funds that Second Harvest uses to purchase 3lb. beef roasts from AgriBeef, allowed Second Harvest to distribute through its Mobile Food Bank program its 27 thousandth roast. Cloninger says that for the first time in its history Second Harvest is making an urgent plea asking the community to help raise another $100-thousand dollars for transportation, packaging and distribution to those in need.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Ag Information Network.