Help end hunger in Yakima for less than 67 cents

According to Northwest Harvest 67 cents can help feed a family of three a healthy, nutritious meal.

YAKIMA, Wash. - The employees at the Northwest Harvest distribution center in Yakima have an unusual wish for their careers.

"We would all love to be out of a job, to be completely honest," says Sheri Bissell, Community Engagement Specialist with Northwest Harvest in Yakima.

It's something you don't hear every day at the work place. "We say that a lot, if we're out of a job then there is no hunger."

Ending hunger is a mission Northwest Harvest has worked toward for nearly 50 years. The organization began serving the hungry in Washington state in 1967 and hasn't stopped since. They are the state's largest food distributor and work with local partners to fill up food banks around the state.

Hunger is an issue happening right here in our own community, and according to Sheri on average one in eight people struggle with hunger in the United States.

"The lines in the food bank still exist, and they're still just as long as they were a couple of years ago, if not longer," says Sheri.

Nearly 400 food banks across the state benefit from Northwest Harvest by getting healthy, nutritious food from them to serve to those in need free of charge.

Sheri says free donations from food drives, companies, farms, and organizations coupled with the food they buy at a very discounted rate, helps them offer more than two million free meals a month.

"About 75 percent of the food that we distribute out is donated food. We purchase the remaining food that we distribute out, so about 25 percent is what we purchase," said Sheri.

Northwest Harvest can buy food at a discounted rate since they have statewide buying power and buy in bulk. Those discounted rates can help local families get food for free from local food banks. And Northwest Harvest says they can spend as low as 67 cents to feed a family of three for instance, due to the donations they receive and the low cost they spend on purchasing food.

"Cause that's where the 67 cents comes in, that's where it all comes around full circle. If that 75 percent of the food that we distribute goes down, the 25 percent that we purchase obviously has to go up," said Sheri.

Sheri says the need just in the Yakima Valley is great. Every penny donated goes directly toward feeding a hungry person and that person could be your friend, neighbor, or coworker.

Every client at the food banks has their own story, their own reasons for needing the services.

"So the way they look at it is, I can miss a few meals and still be ok. But I need the roof over my head, and I need the car to get to the job," said Sheri.

KIMA is partnering with Northwest Harvest to show the need for donations. Northwest Harvest says they can spend as low as 67 cents and offer a family of three a free, healthy meal. They are able to do this due to the free donations they receive and the discounted food they buy.

So we're putting three local chefs to the test by challenging them to create a healthy meal solely from food they find at Northwest Harvest.

This segment, called the 67 Cent Challenge will air every Monday this week at 6 p.m.!

Sheri says they are completely based on donations, and do not receive any government funds. If you would like to donate to Northwest Harvest click here to learn how and where you can bring donations.

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