Following Full Circle Donations to Those in Need
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture released information on September 7, 2011 that more than 387,000 families in Washington State struggle with food insecurity and are unsure of the source of their next meal. This is 14.7% of Washington’s households, and means 1 in 7 families are financially stretched to the point where they can’t be certain that members of their family will not go hungry.”
The Food Lifeline warehouse is frigid, but everyone seems to be keeping warm as they bustle around just as I imagine Santa’s elves would do at the North Pole: keeping up with a never-ending demand for items that make one individual’s life a little brighter. Everyone’s smiling as if that’s the case too. The cheer is tangible in the chuckles and friendly banter of the employees who have the donation and delivery process down to a science; whizzing past stacks of canned chili and boxes of Nilla® Wafers on forklifts loaded with incoming and outgoing deliveries. It’s obvious that, from individuals who secure donations to those that load the trucks, everyone at Food Lifeline takes pride in bringing food to hungry people.
On this particular day, stacks of large grey boxes labeled “Full Circle: Kale – DONATED” are sitting on the loading dock waiting for its recipients. Along with at least 10 gallons of milk, 15 cases of salad greens, yogurt and cheese, the Full Circle kale was headed to the Recovery Café, a transitional community for at risk individuals and families. The Recovery Café serves an average of 200 meals a day, through 2 daily meals, prepared with about 80% donated ingredients, and the 5 cases of kale were headed toward many hungry mouths. “Looks like we’ll be cooking with kale for quite a few days”, said Jason Fitzgerald who works the kitchen at the café.
This is just a small portion of the food Full Circle donated to Food Lifeline as part of the Harvest Moon Food Challenge this October. With over 1,250 participants, Full Circle doubled that number in pounds of food donated, delivering 1,500 pounds to Food Lifeline and 1,000 pounds to Food Bank of Alaska – a total of 2,500 pounds. Seasonal items like kale as well as cabbage, beets and carrots, were well received – many of the organizations that benefit from food bank and other food assistance programs are always in search of more fresh produce and healthier foods.
As an active participant in the local food system, Full Circle is always working to improve access to fresh food. For Full Circle, decreasing the number of people who are unsure where their next meal comes from, while increasing the amount of fresh food available to those people is crucial. Contributing, through donations like this, impacts the growth and health of individuals as well as that of the food system, environment and community.
Food Lifeline is a key partner in distributing donations from Full Circle and others, making sure the food they receive is distributed quickly to those who need it most in local communities. Their donation area covers 17 counties in Western Washington and they secure donations from farmers, food distributors, grocery stores, restaurants, private parties and more from across the state and sometimes in surrounding states as well. In addition to this Harvest Moon Donation, Full Circle also donates extra produce from our harvests and perishable items that are not packed in our weekly delivery boxes.
I’ll be in the kitchen with Chef Jason Fitzgerald at the Recovery Café on Wednesday helping prepare the Full Circle kale for lunch so check back on Thursday for the photos and hopefully a recipe that Jason will share with us!