2nd Harvest brings attention to food insecurity

PASCO, WA - 2nd Harvest has had to nearly double the amount of food they give out every day to keep up with the need for food. That's including our region and across the country.

This year's campaign comes at a critical time when the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt millions of people living paycheck to paycheck.

Hunger Action Month is an annual campaign held in September by the Feeding America Network, which 2nd Harvest is a member of.

"And it's design to raise awareness of the issue of hunger and to inspire people to take action," Jean Tucker with 2nd Harvest Tri-Cities said. "To fight hunger so that no child, adult or senior will face chronic hunger"

Since the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in mid-March, Tucker said it has been a challenge.

"It seems like overnight thousands of people became unemployed as it was across the county," Tucker said. "So, it has been unprecedented needs for foods and assistance in our area."

2nd Harvest has gone from providing food for 70,000 meals a day to more than 130,000 meals a day in central Washington and northern Idaho.

Tucker said thousands of people have had to ask for help for the very first time.

"So, that has been that we had an significantly increase the amount of food that we are sourcing and distributing to our partner food pantries and out to our local market distribution," Tucker said.

At the end of June, 2nd Harvest had distributed 43 million pounds of food throughout their service area. That's enough food for 35.8 million meals for people facing food insecurity. Tucker said that is 11 million pounds of food more than last year.

Since COVID, Tucker said the way they distribute food has changed with their mobile markets.

"But now, because of physical distancing, we are doing those in a drive through, so it has required a lot more effort on our part," Tucker said.

Gesa Credit Union is partnering with 2nd Harvest to sponsor "Hunger Action Month."

"Gesa is very community-minded organization," Tucker said. "They were excited to partner with us with this opportunity."

The credit union will match donations to 2nd Harvest up to $20,000 to help fight hunger in our area.

If you would like to be involved, you can donate non-perishable food items to their locations. You can visit Kennewick, south Kennewick, Pasco, west Paco, Richland, south Richland, Queensgate, West Richland, Moses Lake, Walla Walla Poplar St. and Yakima North 40th to donate.

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