Getting healthy food to children who need it most is a fundamental goal of Second Harvest. Support for the Feeding Kids First campaign will fund urgent infrastructure and operating capital needs so that Second Harvest can do more to fill nutritional gaps for food insecure children. This includes acquiring and transforming a nearby building into the Wolff Family Child Hunger Solution Center. The added warehouse and volunteer space will make it possible for Second Harvest to manage more food supplies for child-focused programs, such as Bite2Go, which helps cover weekend meals and snacks for hundreds of students in need during the school year.
As targeted programs like Bite2Go have expanded, their logistics have strained Second Harvest’s existing warehouse and volunteer capacity. For example, packing and storing upwards of 130,000 Bite2Go weekend food kits annually infringes on Second Harvest’s primary food handling activities that supply our network of partner food banks, meal sites and other programs that feed more than 200,000 hungry people throughout the Inland Northwest.
Additional space and program support are crucial to not only sustain Bite2Go and other child hunger outreach, but also to preserve and increase Second Harvest’s capacity for core operations like produce sorting. Volunteers sort, box and bag millions of pounds of fresh, donated fruits and vegetables in Second Harvest’s Volunteer Center. This vitally important work currently competes for time, space and volunteer availability for Bit2Go food kit packing.
One out of five kids in Eastern Washington and North Idaho is at risk of hunger. That means more than 86,000 children under age 18 face chronic food shortages at home, according to the most recent Feeding America Map the Meal Gap research. In Spokane County alone, about 22,000 kids are uncertain about their next meal. Generous community support for Second Harvest’s Bite2Go weekend food program that targets the most at-risk schoolchildren has allowed the impactful initiative to triple in size since its inception five years ago. Further charitable investments are needed to build infrastructure and program support that can manage the significant growth projected for Bite2Go over the next five years.
Food is foundational for children—and so is the need to build capacity for organizations like Second Harvest to grow and protect the nutritional safety net for vulnerable youth. As the hub for the hunger-relief network serving the Inland Northwest, Second Harvest sources and distributes donated food supplies for 250 partner food banks, meal sites and other programs. This network together with Second Harvest’s own Mobile Market provides critical access points for food assistance for thousands of families with children each week. Sustaining and expanding this essential work requires program and infrastructure investments. The warehouse space that will be added in Spokane as part of the Feeding Kids First campaign will increase organizational capacity to get more fresh produce on to the plates of struggling families with children, who do not eat the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables because they cannot afford them.
Second Harvest’s 83,000-square-foot distribution center in Spokane’s University District neighborhood is close to 70 years old and owned debt-free. Expanding the existing facility or relocating to a larger space is economically unfeasible. Strategic planning identified an opportunity to acquire additional space at nearby 402 N. Perry St. The building is near the existing Second Harvest distribution center, which is in the city core and centrally located for ease of access by volunteers and partner agencies. The second facility will add 21,000 square feet, including 13,000 square feet of warehouse space. Plans for renovation include a permanent home for a new Bite2Go Volunteer Center, a flexible training space for nutrition education classes and student leadership opportunities, and convening space for community partners. Preparation for the opportunity included dedication of $350,000 in facilities reserves by Second Harvest’s governing board and leveraging a $550,000 Community Development Block Grant from the City of Spokane.
We’re 25 percent away from our needed funding goal, which will help sustain current efforts feeding kids and expand existing programs to the last miles of our service area.
Major thanks to all of our wonderful supporters.
Too many children don’t know where their next meal will come from. You can ease their minds and fill their stomachs. Your donation will help source more critically needed food for children facing hunger—giving them the fuel to grow and thrive. By supporting the Feeding Kids First campaign, you’re making the futures of our children a priority.
For more information, please contact Drew at firstname.lastname@example.org or (509) 252-6284.