BACK TO SCHOOL WITH BITE2GO – SEPTEMBER 9
Author: Steve Durham, VP of Philanthropy
On my morning commute, I saw two sure signs of the changing season. One was a school bus and the other was a crossing guard. While, according to the calendar and meteorologists, summer may linger, summer vacation is over and the start of school is upon us! Here at Second Harvest, that also means the start of the Bite2Go program.
Bite2Go exists to address one sobering statistic—one in six children in the Second Harvest service area is food insecure. While free and reduced price school lunches provide nutrition for many of these kids during the school week, some kids simply don’t have enough to eat on the weekends.
However, for a growing number of kids experiencing hunger, there is hope. Second Harvest, in close partnership with At The Core, another Spokane-based nonprofit, rallies financial and volunteer support from churches, businesses and civic groups to support Bite2Go in area elementary, middle and high schools. These adoptive organizations purchase and deliver nutritious, shelf-stable and kid-friendly food to their adopted school each week.
First started in 2014, the program has grown from serving fewer than 10 kids at one elementary school to now serving over 7,000 kids in nearly 150 schools. Once unique to Spokane schools, Bite2Go now serves schools in North Idaho, the Tri-Cities and numerous other communities throughout rural Eastern Washington. Nearly 150 adoptive organizations contribute their dollars and their volunteer labor to make the program possible every week of the school year.
Looking ahead to the 2022-23 school year, we see a mix of challenges and opportunities. The nation’s supply chain still has not worked itself out and we continue to navigate product shortages and shipping delays. We also know that these same issues impact the families we serve. As inflation rises and with it, the prices of food and other household goods, we are bracing ourselves and our adoptive organizations for possible rises in Bite2Go enrollment in the coming school year.
We also see abundant opportunities ahead. The current inflationary cycle has challenged us to maintain pricing, but we have also forged new partnerships to keep costs down while delivering food that kids will love. We are also actively expanding the program’s reach in the coming year. We are in conversations with school districts and prospective adoptive organizations across the Mid-Columbia Basin and counties in Northern Washington to identify pockets of need and partners who can help to address that need.
We’re fond of calling Bite2Go a team sport. There are teachers and school counselors, leaders and volunteers from our adoptive organizations, our partners at At The Core, and the entire Bite2Go team here at Second Harvest. But there’s always more room on the roster. If you’d like to contribute your time or your dollars, we’d love to talk to you. If you’re at a school that could use Bite2Go, please reach out to us. And if you’re a business leader who’s considering adopting a school, just let us know.
For more information, please visit Bite2Go.org.