Food sourcing: Where we are now – August 11
Author: Jason Clark, Second Harvest CEO
Finding food is, and always has been, our top priority. Rescuing food is what fuels our ability to help people facing hunger day in and day out.
The big opportunity in front of us is using our small fleet of commercial trucks and drivers and pointing them toward the amazing food producers in the Columbia Basin. By making this shift we’ve been able to earn some incredible food donor support. Four examples include:
- Healthy packaged snacks from Crunch Pak in Cashmere. Crunch Pak maximizes the fact that it is located in the Wenatchee Valley, often called “the apple capital of the world,” and makes nutritious snacks that are particularly craved by kids.
- Frozen potatoes from Lamb Weston in Tri-Cities. Potatoes are a foundation food for many families and the frozen variety provides both convenience and lots of meal-cooking options.
- Fresh mushrooms from Windmill Farms near Sunnyside. Obtaining mushrooms has been a hit-or-miss proposition for us for years, and the relationship with Windmill gives us a more sustainable supply.
- A wide variety of fresh produce from Imperial’s Garden outside Wapato. Sourcing variety is a challenge for us and for all food banks and pantries. Our recently developed partnership with Imperial’s Garden yields a cornucopia of produce that’s nutritious, local, and quite frankly, gorgeous.
Even with those successes, however, food continues to go out our doors faster than it comes in. And of course, with opportunity comes costs. We’ve had to shift how we distribute free food to our partners across our service area. Local pantries now have options to pick up at our warehouses in Spokane and Pasco, or hub sites in Wenatchee, Walla Walla, Yakima and Colville. In a perfect world, we’d be able to make door-to-door deliveries to every pantry in the region, but that just isn’t possible.
Compounding our mutual frustration is that for the past 10 to 12 months, food is not only more expensive but also more difficult to get ahold of. We are working harder than ever to find and obtain nutritious food. And when I say “we,” I mean all of us—especially volunteers, financial donors and food donors.
Everything we see in the next 12 to 24 months tells us that need is going to remain elevated and food supplies are going to be lowered. We deeply appreciate your support and ask that you continue to do what you can to help feed our neighbors in need.