Second Harvest facing challenges nearing the end of 2020

SPOKANE, Wash. — Thousands are still unemployed and unable to buy food in Spokane County. Second Harvest has been doing what it can to help hungry families.

It’s giving out 10,000 emergency food boxes and 12,000 produce boxes each week. Though, they’re concerned about the how winter will bring new challenges to the organization.

At the start of the pandemic, Second Harvest was forced to come up with new and creative ways of meeting the needs of the community, while also following new safety measures surrounding COVID-19. As the year comes to a close, some of those strategies they came up with are going away.

That means for Second Harvest, it’s back to the drawing board. Come fall and winter, Second Harvest is facing some obstacles.

“As you can see, we got trucks galore around here,” said Eric Williams, community partnerships director at Second Harvest in Spokane.

They have concerns about delivery, including their Mobile Market, which has helped them greatly during the pandemic.

“So we’re wondering about, do we chain up,” Williams said. “What other steps are we going to have to take so we can get the food to the people who need it?”

In the next few months, they’re also going to lose some extra hands on deck, including the 60 National Guard members that have deployed since April.

“Right now, they are anticipating that they will demobilize the 15th of December,” Williams said.

Some programs may not be available anymore either.

“That fresh produce that comes from the farms to families, that is currently scheduled to end at the end of the year. Could that be extended? We are certainly hopeful,” Williams said.

Currently the warehouse is fully stocked.

“That’s a good thing because as some of these different programs maybe go away, that food will absolutely be used in a hurry,” Williams said.

But even keeping that stock is hard because of supply chain issues. Before the pandemic, they only waited up to three weeks for food orders on mac and cheese and peanut butter. Now, it’s taking up to three months.

“We know there is a lot of people who are struggling, really need the food. Fortunately, the communities around here have really rallied and provided that,” Williams said.

Second Harvest asks that anyone who can help with money consider donating to their organization. They said trying to meet the needs of a growing food insecure community continues to change.

Any donations can help fill those gaps. If you can’t contribute financially, you can consider volunteering. You can learn more HERE.