COVID-19 Resource Page
HAH, in partnership with WA State Dept. of Agriculture, expended $40,000 in funding to help hunger relief organizations to quickly expand capacity to safely handle and distribute perishable foods using our refrigerated capacity grant program model.
Our new partnership with PCC Community Markets and Neighborhood Farmers Markets is connecting local farmers with local food banks.
HAH has delivered 25,000 surgical masks (non-KN95) for volunteer and staff use at food banks across Washington.
Core Work: we continue to source truckloads of fresh produce — including loads of potatoes and onions from eastern WA growers — that are available as a result of the many restaurant closures in that state. Our goal is to secure 4-5 truckloads a week through the end of the month, and possibly longer.
We have expanded our 2020 Farm to Food Pantry initiative to provide additional early-season funding to farmers who have been impacted by market and restaurant closures.
HAH is tapping into our trucking donor network to help move additional loads of food between hunger relief partners across Washington. This is an extremely valuable resource, and we are grateful for the support of so many of our trucking partners. One recent example was delivery of a 40,000 truckload of potatoes from Moses Lake to Bremerton for distribution through the Kitsap Conservation District and local food banks.
HAH is working with the WA State Department of Agriculture to determine overall hunger relief system refrigerated storage capacity to help make effective improvements statewide. Data collected will help build a strategy for investing in refrigerated capacity to handle increased perishable foods from USDA COVID-19 emergency food programs.
How you can help
UPDATE: VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!
Food banks across Washington are re-working their distribution models to follow social distancing protocols. Many are packing food into pre-sized and sorted boxes to give to clients. Volunteers are needed to help with this extra level of service.
Find your local food bank to drop off food or volunteer:
HAH work parties cancelled until further notice
Our partners at Northwest Harvest and Food Lifeline have made the difficult decision to suspend all volunteer workparties at their warehouse facilities until further notice. Both organizations have been retooling their programs and services to accomodate new distribution models that will allow food banks across the commmunity to more easily follow safe distancing protocols while serving an increasing number of clients. We will notify you when workparties resume.
Spotlight on Help: Taylor Driving School
You may not own a truck, but you can certainly appreciate the amazing help we’ve received from our friends at Taylor Driving School. Owner Ed Taylor and his team of instructors have been using the school’s trucks to haul loads of unpacked food from Skagit Distribution Center in Sedro Woolley to the Helping Hands Food Bank in Mount Vernon where National Guard teams are helping to pack boxes for drive-in distribution at local food banks.
COVID-19 Resources used by Harvest VISTA Members
Pirate Ship: Get the cheapest shipping rates for all USPS® service. Save up to 90% off retail USPS rates with the deepest commercial discounts and no markup, monthly fees, or hidden costs.
Example: Lynsey Horne, Harvest VISTA at Slow Food SW WA, has been using this resource to ship plant seeds to members of her community and increase food sovereignty in the Vancouver, WA area.
Mapquest Route Planner: Route Planner can optimize your route so you spend less time driving and more time doing. Provide up to 26 locations and Route Planner will optimize, based on your preferences, to save you time and gas money.
Example: Abby Findley, Harvest VISTA at Vashon Maury Community Food Bank, is using this tool to create efficient food distribution routes for her volunteers. Vashon Maury Community Food Bank is experiencing significant increases in home delivery requests from vulnerable populations who rely on the food bank.
Free ServSafe Food Handler Course: In these difficult times with COVID-19 affecting so many of us, ServSafe and the National Restaurant Association are committed to supporting restaurant workers by offering a free ServSafe Food Handler course and exam.
Example: Oli Sivula, Harvest VISTA at the Community Action Center, is using this resource to train volunteers for food distribution.
Instacart: Save yourself that trip to the market — Instacart delivers groceries in as little as an hour! We connect you with Personal Shoppers in your area to shop and deliver groceries from your favorite stores.
Example: Anastasia Ryseff, Harvest VISTA at the International Rescue Committee, uses Instacart to purchase food for older, at-risk, refugee populations in the Seattle area.
Learn More About the Response
We’re partnering with the Washington State Dept. of Agriculture and other hunger relief to develop best practices and resources. See the full list of responses, schedule updates and capacity needs here.
School districts are working to provide free meals to all students, including “grab and go” models not typically used. To learn more and to see if volunteers are needed to help distribute, check with your local school district.