at Second Harvest Story and photos by Julie Humphreys
LIFE HAPPENS IN THE KITCHEN. It’s where families congregate, where some
of the biggest decisions of our lives are made, where the party always ends up, right? What’s not happening in the kitchen is much real-life cooking. There’s a big push to change that, though, to move a generation, whose parents didn’t cook and who weren’t taught cooking skills in school, back to the basics of scratch cooking. The hope is to regain control of our health. By cooking our own meals with healthy, whole ingredients we have a greater chance of managing health issues like obesity and diabetes. In Spokane, you’ll find the newest, state-of-the-art kitchen at a food distribution center that provides free food to 55,000 people a week in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. Second Harvest has built a community-focused kitchen to help move people in poverty from hunger to health and to help them become more self-sufficient. “People want to be more self-sufficient, they want to learn how to take care of themselves. Many of the people in our food bank lines have a lot of health issues,” says Jandyl Doak, Nutrition Education Coordinator at The Kitchen at Second Harvest. “People, regardless of their income level, understand the correlation between good food and good health.” Second Harvest distributes a hefty amount of good food. Fresh fruits and vegetables currently make up nearly half of the 25 million pounds of donated food Second Harvest distributes annually, and over the last ten years, fresh produce donations have increased more than 100 percent.
“We have grown our produce resources tremendously,” says Drew Meuer, director of kitchen programs at Second Harvest. “We are sourcing and distributing wonderful fresh foods like potatoes, squash, apples, herbs, watermelon. With The Kitchen we now have the missing piece to help households eat healthier meals. We have a place for people to convene where we can elevate the conversation around food and highlight our connection to seasonal and local foods and the farmers who grow them.” The need for a community kitchen became more and more evident as the distribution of fresh produce grew. Often people using Second Harvest’s network of emergency food pantries will say “No thank you” to butternut squash or lentils, explaining that they don’t know what to do with them. So Second Harvest
Published on Oct 19, 2015