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Northwest Harvest faces ‘unprecedented’ need amid pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has squeezed Washingtonians, driving a greater need at Northwest Harvest.

Home Team Harvest aims to raise 20 million meals for families in need, and with the number of Washingtonians struggling to put food on the table doubling, the need is greater than ever.

Though the need is up, Northwest Harvest, a Seattle-based hunger relief agency, says donations are down.

“There's an unprecedented need in the state of Washington,” said Gary Newte, Northwest Harvest director of sourcing and procurement. “The amount of donations drastically decreased, right? Food became a premium commodity.”

In a typical year, Northwest Harvest purchases 10% of the food they distribute, and the other 90% comes from donations and the supply chain. However, Newte says those ratios have flipped with Northwest Harvest purchasing 90%-plus to meet the need.

But with unprecedented need comes an unprecedented response. Volunteers work tirelessly, and Northwest Harvest will take all it can get to help those in need.

“Well, it is really about rallying the community, and it's based on the incredible amount of community support that we are able to purchase at such high volumes and meet the needs of those partners that we serve,” Newte said.

How to support Home Team Harvest

There are four ways you can help support KING 5's efforts to raise 20 million meals through Home Team Harvest.

Donate online: Give online to Northwest Harvest.

Text to donate: Text HOMETEAM to 41444 to give.

Buy a virtual hunger bag: Visit your local Safeway or Albertsons store and buy a virtual hunger bag for $5, $10 or $15.

Watch the broadcast special: On Saturday, Dec. 5 at 10 a.m., tune in to KING 5 for a one-hour special as we celebrate 20 years of Home Team Harvest.