Spokane, WA APRIL 2015 – Second Harvest is building a community kitchen to help move people in poverty from hunger to health and improve their self-sufficiency.
Thanks to many generous donations from the community, Second Harvest has raised close to half of the nearly $1 million needed for construction and the first three years of program costs. A 1,700-square-foot corner of Second Harvest’s distribution center is being transformed into a teaching and production kitchen. Construction is underway and will be completed by the end of May. Initial classes will start this summer.
Second Harvest currently provides more than 2 million pounds of free food each month to a network of 250 food banks and meal programs that feed 55,000 people each week in the Inland Northwest. The Kitchen will help low-income households build scratch-cooking, nutrition and food-budgeting skills that lead to a healthier diet and improved self-sufficiency.
“Second Harvest’s network is built on partnerships, which puts us in the best position to reach
low-income families with free educational opportunities that focus on health as part of the solution to hunger,” said Jason Clark, president and CEO.
The Kitchen’s education center will include a demonstration island and 12 workstations that can accommodate up to 24 students. An adjacent production facility will allow for preparation of sample meals that can be frozen and used for food distributions that promote healthy eating. Additionally, food prepared in the production facility will provide easy meals for people in crisis.
Second Harvest hosted community brainstorming sessions with experts from Spokane Regional Health District, Washington State University Extension, WSU Riverpoint Health Services, Gonzaga University, Spokane County Head Start and other organizations with a goal of creating a culture of healthy eating for people who may need to overcome a variety of cooking challenges.
Classes, recipes and educational materials generated through The Kitchen will give individuals and families the tools they need to eat healthier meals and stretch their limited food dollars even further. A priority is educating children as a way to build basic skills, move families toward a better diet and reduce generational poverty.
The Kitchen also will train leaders of partner food pantries, health care nonprofits, schools and other organizations that serve low-income people, providing them with materials to educate their own clients.