North Notes
Spokane North Rotary Club Bulletin
July 18, 2016
          Save the dates: Mike Payson of Spokane Valley Rotary, the assistant district governor for Area 8 in District 5080, will visit our club Aug. 8.
          District 5080 Gov. Kees van der Pol, of the Nakusp Rotary, will visit the club Aug. 22.  Plan to attend and please bring a friend to the luncheon. The club board meets with Kees at 11 a.m. that day.
Harvest program helps feed needy kids
            Many of those extra apples, potatoes and cherries grown in eastern Washington find their way to hungry children and their families through various “harvest” programs.
            Club members on July 18 heard about the statewide Northwest Harvest program from Julie Delaney and Katie Huckabee.
            “We are not as big a name presence in Spokane as Second Harvest, but we reach every part of Washington State,” said Delaney, the community engagement manager for Northwest Harvest. “We are the only statewide food distribution agency.”
           Northwest Harvest was founded in 1967 in Seattle by the newly-formed Ecumenical Metropolitan Ministry and has had ties with Rotary for all of its 50-year existence, Delaney said.  “We were founded by a group of churches and started with one truckload of donated potatoes,” she said.  Now some 32 million pounds of food are distributed annually, mostly to kids 12 and under and people over 65.
            Spokane-area board members include Scott McQuilkin, a past president of our club and Whitworth University’s vice president for institutional advancement, and Joyce Cameron of Providence Health Care.
            The non-profit agency works through a network of 380 distribution programs at schools, food banks and other outlets. During the school year some 2.5 million meals a month are provided, she said.  That includes the “three-squares backpack” program, in which needy students, identified by school teachers and administrators, carry home meals – breakfasts, lunches and dinners -- for the days school is not in session.
            Delaney said a $350,000 Boeing grant has allowed Northwest Harvest to provide meals during long holiday breaks. The agency web site notes that many early food recipients were among the 60,000 Boeing aerospace workers laid off in 1970.
            Delaney said Northwest Harvest has been in Spokane about 10 years and five years ago opened its warehouse in the Spokane Industrial Park.  Initially the agency served eight programs, but now serves 27 food distribution programs, including Holmes Elementary.  Typically 24 or 25 students receive food items at each school.  Annual cost per school is about $8,000, she said.  Six menus are rotated to provide variety, she added.
            Delaney added that Spokane South Rotary has “adopted” Grant Elementary and fully funds the food program there.
            Huckabee, who coordinates volunteer efforts for the agency, told the club that a large volunteer force sorts and repackages bulk donations of food “to meal size.”  She said “we have eight to 12 open volunteer opportunities every month” for church, school and workplace groups to help with the packaging, food drives and fund drives.
            Delaney said Northwest Harvest “will turn down donations of lesser quality” so meals provided meet governmental regulatory standards.
            She notes there are four food distribution agencies in the state with “harvest” as part of each name.  “We try to make it as confusing as possible,” she quipped.
            Delaney said Northwest Harvest doesn’t compete directly with Second Harvest, which, for example, does a lot more with “grocery rescue programs,” securing items for distribution with shelf-lives still remaining.  “The sandbox is pretty big,” Delaney said.  Second Harvest also operates in the Tri-Cities and Coeur d’Alene.
The bulletin producers:
          Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
          Photos: Sandy Fink
          Program coordinator: Brad Stark