Central Washington is home to many large-scale farms and every event can result in a harvest of between six and 40 apple bins, which can hold up to 1,100 pounds of produce each. Thus, transportation and storage are crucial when working with such donation volumes. Having transport and storage available enables CSML to accept semi-load donations from packing houses and producers to distribute to smaller food banks that are unable to handle an entire bin of produce, let alone a whole truck.
When a donation of 10,000 pounds of onions arrived at the CSML warehouse, the Harvest VISTA realized that while there was a full storage shed of onions available for donation, there was no way to transport them. This is where Harvest Against Hunger (HAH) and their statewide connections came into play. With a single phone call from Moses Lake, the recovery was set into motion. Within three days two trucks arrived to collect and move an additional 140,000 pounds of onions to Northwest Harvest and Second Harvest. This particular producer was overjoyed that the onions had been donated and had not gone to waste. Not only was the storage and transportation at CSML valuable in making this link, but also the statewide efforts of HAH to connect and collaborate.
Frequently, donations will be larger as stated above, then as word spreads you will begin to get phone calls from homeowners with a single tree to harvest. Collaborating with the Senior Center Gleaners ensured that even the smallest amount of produce was harvested and didn’t go to waste.