YAKIMA, Wash. — New critical infrastructure is in place to tackle food insecurity in the state of Washington.
Northwest Harvest has opened a new 200,000-square-foot statewide food distribution center in Yakima that feeds families while supporting farmers.
The extra storage space will go a long way toward addressing Washington's food crisis. Leaders say one in 12 families are struggling to put food on the table right now.
"Right now in Washington state food insecurity is high and growing, unfortunately,” said Thomas Reynolds, the CEO of Northwest Harvest. “Inflation has been a major issue for households across Washington state."
Food from this facility will be dispersed across the state to Northwest Harvest's more than 400 partners, including many food banks and schools. The facility has refrigerated food storage areas and a large storage area for frozen foods. The facility quadruples the amount of refrigerated storage space that Northwest Harvest has.
"During harvest season, especially, this will be full of fruits and vegetables, bell peppers, apples, apricots,” said Reynolds.
The produce will come from farmers right in the Yakima area, which is one of the reasons the city was selected, in addition to its central location. This was a decision supported by state leaders.
“Yakima is essentially the heart of, the heart of Washington, but also one of the major agricultural production areas in the state as well,” said Derek Sandison, the Director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).
Reynolds said the high need for food, and low food inventory in Washington is why buying produce from farmers and distributing it to people in need just makes sense. This benefits underserved communities across the state and central Washington farmers.
“This is good for the farmers in this valley because it's another market outlet for Washington food products and Yakima Valley food products, for that matter,” said Sandison.
"Eventually this facility will be full and that means so many more people are going to be eating nutritious foods and that's really powerful,” said Reynolds.
KING 5’s annual Home Team Harvest drive to benefit Northwest Harvest is underway. This year’s goal is to raise 21 million meals.
Ways to donate:
- Online through Northwest Harvest
- Text “HOMETEAM” to 41444
- Starting Nov. 1, visit your local Safeway or Albertsons to give $5, $10 or $12 toward grocery cards.