Harvesters Food BankJulia Voigt
Harvesters Food Bank
By Julia Voigt
Operating since 1979, Harvesters works diligently to address food insecurity in the Missouri/Kansas region. It is also a regional disaster-relief staging site for Feeding America, providing sustenance after disasters such as the Midwest flooding and Hurricane Harvey. The role it plays in our community is critical; 13.3 percent of the population in Harvesters 26-county service area, or one in eight people, is food insecure. Of children under the age of 18 in that same area, one in six is food insecure. Recognizing the connection between food waste and food access, Harvesters’ collects and rescues food from community partners – such as groceries, restaurants, or growers – and redistributes it to member agencies that are better able to reach those in need. By critically analyzing the food landscape of the region, Harvesters also creates programs that address food access in specific circumstances, such as after-school or summer care and food security for seniors. In its efforts, Harvesters feeds more than 141,500 people every month, distributing approximately 50 million pounds of food annually.
Recognizing the importance of food in creating healthy, vibrant communities, DRAW volunteered with Harvesters in their packaging warehouse last month, packing over 200 boxes for families in need. We were incredibly humbled and inspired by Harvesters ongoing operations and are in turn reinvigorated in pursuing our own efforts to serve our communities. “When creating new communities, we must be cognizant of access to food – is there a grocery nearby, and if not, is public transit available? The connection between food and housing is not irrelevant,” noted DRAW Director of Operations Graham Still. “The opportunity to give back was very fulfilling; I’m excited to return.”