Bite2Go Volunteer Spotlight: John – May 12
Author: Steve Durham
Perched on the farmlands above the Columbia Gorge, the town of George, Washington, is home to just over 800 people. It’s also home to an elementary school where, every week, 33 food-insecure kids receive a weekend food pack through the Bite2Go program.
The Bite2Go program is a collaboration of two Spokane nonprofits — Second Harvest and At The Core — and currently feeds nearly 10,000 kids from North Idaho to the east slope of the Cascades. The child hunger program matches up schools in need with adoptive organizations — churches, businesses and civic groups — that are able to fund the program.
Throughout the school year, Second Harvest volunteers pack bags with shelf-stable, name-brand food at the Wolff Family Child Hunger Solution Center. These bags contain a mix of entrees and snack items to nourish kids through the weekend so that they’re ready to learn when they show up in the classroom on Monday morning.
Volunteers play another vital role when it comes time to transport those Bite2Go kits from east central Spokane to some of the distant communities we serve; in some cases — Ellensburg, Chelan, George — the distance is well over 100 miles.
John Ammann is one of those volunteers who helps Bite2Go support kids across eastern and central Washington. John joined the Second Harvest volunteer team shortly after retiring from Spalding Auto Parts in Spokane Valley.
“I wanted to do something,” Ammann realized while enjoying retirement on the Oregon Coast. He walked in the front door of Second Harvest and asked, “Can you guys use some volunteers?” John’s journey began at the Singer building where he initially helped sort produce.
When Second Harvest put out a call for volunteer drivers, Ammann answered. “This sounds like fun. Why not me?” Ammann said. A brief orientation and driving test followed. “Next thing I know, I’m driving,” Ammann said.
Ammann recently reflected on what it means to drive to places like Ritzville with Bite2Go kits onboard a Second Harvest delivery van. “You meet a lot of nice people out there, people who are super happy to do what they’re doing,” Ammann said. “If you want to put in the hard work and the time, it’s worth it.”
There are other benefits, too, according to Ammann. “My doctor loves it. It gets my heart rate up, I break a sweat. I call it the Second Harvest gym,” Ammann said.
Ammann’s time at the wheel in the present day also transports him back to his high school days when Ammann’s father volunteered for a nonprofit called the Spokane Food Bank. Founded in 1971, that food bank would become Second Harvest in 2000.
John rode with his father after school and during breaks to help deliver food across Spokane in the early ‘70s. Now, decades later, John Ammann carries on a family tradition every time he gets behind the wheel to deliver Bite2Go packs to food insecure kids.
If you are interested in driving for the Bite2Go program, we are always looking for drivers. Once we establish that you have a clean driving record through a Motor Vehicle Record background check, we will orient you on our vehicles, train you in their safe operation and connect you with the numerous driving opportunities on the Bite2Go calendar. Please reach out to Steve Durham if you’re interested: Steve.Durham@2-harvest.org.