Hands-on help for Northwest Harvest

L to R: Mike (NW Harvest employee); and WC team members Jim Wilkinson, Kellee Mains, Derek Smith, David McKinney, Matt Guchee, and Beth Kalombo

L to R: Mike (NW Harvest employee); and WC team members Jim Wilkinson, Kellee Mains, Derek Smith, David McKinney, Matt Guchee, and Beth Kalombo

Six employees from Wilkinson Corporation broke away from the office for a couple of hours on May 17 to volunteer for Northwest Harvest, the only nonprofit food bank distributor operating statewide in Washington with a network of 375 food banks, meal programs and high-need schools, providing more than two million meals every month.

The Wilkinson team sorted pears donated by a local fruit packing house and repacked them ( a total of 4,440 pounds equaling 3,415 meals) for Northwest Harvest to distribute.

Northwest Harvest has decades of experience ensuring the constant supply of nutritious, in-demand products by purchasing a significant share of the food directly from local sources, two-thirds of which consists of highly nutritious fruits and vegetables.

“I love any opportunity I get to serve at Northwest Harvest and learn more about what their mission is for the Pacific Northwest and Yakima Valley,” said Matt Guchee, financial analyst for Wilkinson Corporation, who has volunteered for Northwest Harvest several times in the past. “It’s a great way to make an impact in the community, to see the tangible results of your efforts, watching the food get shipped out. It was great to be a part of the Wilkinson team taking time to make a positive difference in the city we call home.”

Sheri Bissell, community engagement manager for Northwest Harvest, is keen on volunteers. “We distribute food to our partner food banks and meal programs free of charge, so we rely on the community for funding and volunteers,” said Bissell. “Wonderful organizations, like the Wilkinson Corporation, that volunteer to help us are essential to the work we do here to feed hungry families. Without volunteers, we would have to hire staff to do that work and that is money that we could spend on food. Volunteers really are the heart of our operation.”

Northwest Harvest reaches rural communities with distribution centers in western, eastern, coastal and central Washington. In 2016, they set a distribution record of 33 million pounds of food, serving unprecedented numbers of hungry people—and 90 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to food distribution.