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First Impressions of Northwest Harvest!!

I have been almost continuously impressed with Northwest Harvest since I joined the team one week ago.The statistics flying around here are impressive:25 million pounds of food distributed last year, 1.6 million meals provided each month, more than 2,000 people served in a single day at the Cherry Street food bank. The numbers are truly incredible, but the impact of Northwest Harvest on individuals is even more powerful.

I don’t think that I have met a single person in the city of Seattle who hasn’t heard of Northwest Harvest. I tell them I’m an intern here and donor, volunteer, client or person on the street – they grin at me and sincerely thank me for my work. I am really proud to be working here.

It’s the dedication of the staff and volunteers who make Northwest Harvest so wonderful. On our first day, all the interns were put to work in the food bank packing lunches and passing out produce. The casual rapport shared between many of the volunteers and the clients made it immediately evident that something special was going on here. People are treated with respect and in such a way that seems to ease the heavy air that has weighed down every other food bank I’ve visited. It’s amazing to meet the volunteers who have been dedicating their time to help their neighbors. Some volunteers have been working here for years!

My summer project is to create a database about food valuation. I will be surveying our partner programs as well as independent food banks across the country about the types, quantities and values of the food that is donated. The end goal is to create a tool that will allow us and, in turn, our partners to be better stewards of our resources.

My motivation is the many stories of people who are former clients and current donors. When I hear about people who are just getting back on their feet – still really just scraping by – who feel so strongly about the work at Northwest Harvest that they are making donations when they can only afford a few dollars or one bag of rice, I’m moved to ensure that we use those dollars as judiciously as possible. Every dollar must be stretched as far as possible around here. Hopefully my database will allow them to go just a little farther toward ending hunger.

My work is just a small part of the effort made by every volunteer and staff member here at Northwest Harvest. We’re all trying to make your donations accomplish as much as possible in our fight to stop hunger. It’s the dedication of everyone here that allows the statistics and stories to become reality. The number of those who go hungry in Washington is huge; according to the USDA, we are the 11th hungriest state in the nation. Fortunately, the number of people who have access to Northwest Harvest and its partner programs is enormous too!


About engagingseattle

I'm a Duke undergrad student in Seattle for the summer working at Northwest Harvest.

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This entry was posted on June 28, 2012 by .
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