PASCO, Wash. - NBC Right Now continues to track hunger in the Tri-Cities. In these difficult times, need is up and the recent addition of more space to store donations appears to be working.
The 14,000 square foot building is three times the size of the former 2nd Harvest facility that was in Kennewick. Just over a year since they moved to Pasco, the distribution numbers are reflecting all the extra space.
"We've been able to distribute 55% more total food and 43% more in produce that we've gotten out to the community," said 2nd Harvest's Jean Tucker.
That equates to more than 5.5 million pounds of food and more than two million pounds of that was fresh produce. 2nd Harvest serves a six county area and locally, the Tri-Cities Food Bank relies heavily on them.
"We deeply appreciate everything that 2nd Harvest does for us and the fact that they provide us food when there's not a lot of food drives going on here locally," said Director John Neill.
Moving to the new location was of course, about space but also location.
"We're here in this very agriculturally rich area with a lot of food processing plants in the area and farmers and growers nearby. So we wanted to make it nice and convenient for them to donate to us," said Tucker.
More produce, more problems, though. Neill said they've had to throw out some of the produce they've received from 2nd Harvest.
"The stuff that we do receive, we take very seriously. We need to get it out to the people as quickly as we possibly can and we do that but it's been probably not as fresh as I'd like to have seen," said Neill.
"We don't always have top quality produce coming to us. It may not be pretty enough to go the supermarket but it's edible, it's safe," said Tucker.
The new building is just phase one of 2nd Harvest's expansion. Phase two will be extending part of the building out to Foster Wells Road. That will become dry storage. They expect to break ground soon after the first of the year.