SPOKANE, Wash. - Any food bank's mission is to fight hunger in the community it serves and 2nd Harvest knows that means more than just handing out donations.
Construction recently wrapped up on 2nd Harvest's community kitchen, which has been set up to help teach low income families how to stretch their food.
All week the staff of 2nd Harvest and the community kitchen are introducing the kitchen to community partners that helped make it happen, showing them the work that happened there over the summer.
In a matter of months the sounds in the back portion of the Second Harvest warehouse have changed dramatically.
"I think cooking is fun and it's not that hard. It's just that some people have never had the tools to do that," Jandyl Doak said.
Doak is a food industry legend in Spokane now in the non-profit world. She's the perfect pick for nutrition education coordinator at Second Harvest.
"We have fed people for many, many years, which is a wonderful thing to do, but now we need to teach them to cook for themselves with the fresh produce and the products they get from 2nd Harvest," Doak said.
A perfect way to describe what this kitchen is all about.
"What we hope to accomplish in the kitchen is to teach people nutrition education and scratch cooking skills," spokesperson Julie Humphreys said.
Humphreys added 2nd Harvest has increased the amount of fresh produce they distribute by more than 100-percent. Half of what they hand out now is fresh fruits and vegetables but here's the problem:
A struggling single mom, used to feeding her family with processed foods, may not know what to do with fresh lentils from the Palouse.
"We want to teach folks how to use that so they can have healthy meals so they can stretch those products that they have to last longer and stretch their food budget," Humphreys said.
This kitchen won't simply educate the Spokane clients that need 2nd Harvest. The food bank has 250 agency partners throughout the Inland Northwest and they'll work to educate and inform far beyond Spokane city limits.
Classes, information and resources going out from the kitchen to the thousands of people in need is part of a larger effort to eventually break the cycle of poverty in our communities.