Opportunities Industrialization Center

25 Feb 2020, by Admin in Previous Host Sites (WA)

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Opportunities Industrialization Center

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815 Fruitvale Blvd.
Yakima, WA 98902

Opportunities Industrialization Center

The Gleaning & Education Coordinator VISTA serves at the OIC of Washington in Yakima, Washington. OIC of Washington is a non-profit organization providing services through federal, state, and local funding sources to thirteen rural counties throughout the state of Washington. Their services fall into one of four divisions: education & career, nutrition & health, housing & financial, or community services. Some of the many services offered within these four divisions are weekly food distributions, energy & rental assistance, job training & placement, a GED program, and youth & senior programs. Officially formed in Yakima in 1971, OIC’s mission statement is to help the elimination of unemployment, poverty, illiteracy, and racism so all people can live with greater human dignity. Since its creation, OIC has brought more than $90 million into Washington to help the community and its members.

The first-year AmeriCorps member focus was with OIC’s Food Bank & Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which aims to supplement the diets of low-income Americans by providing them with food and nutrition assistance at no cost. In addition to the farm-to-table communications for the food bank, the AmeriCorps member recruited volunteers to work within a community garden with the intention of providing knowledge and resources for individuals to learn how to grow their own produce. The AmeriCorps member continued through their year identifying and assessing community needs by conducting surveys at the food bank and collaborating with partner organizations to raise awareness on nutrition education.

The second-year AmeriCorps member’s focus has been on recruiting and training volunteers for the food bank and gleaning events. The AmeriCorps member has also been finding farmers that are interested in gleaning and donation opportunities with the OIC Food Bank. These farmers’ willingness to donate allows food bank clients to have a wider range of food options at the food bank, expanding the mostly canned and boxed food items to fruits and vegetables. Lastly, the AmeriCorps member has been working to implement the SNAP-Ed program at OIC of Washington. Short for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education, SNAP-Ed works with community members to educate them on healthy eating practices, food budgeting, effective shopping, and nutrition education.