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Stories from the Harvest: January 2023

Stories from the Harvest January 2023 text on background of snowy field with house in background

Home Team Harvest 2022  |  Employee Spotlight  |  HUNGER ACTION DAY  |  2023 Legislative Priorities

Home Team Harvest 2022

This December, Northwest Harvest staff were thrilled to be able to host our first major in person event in two years – Home Team Harvest!NWH staff and KING5 reporters at Lumen Field for Home Team Harvest 2022

Traditionally held across western Washington, Northwest Harvest employees in partnership with King5 don their biggest coats and warmest socks to come together in the early morning with volunteers to collect food, raise awareness, and support their neighbors experiencing food insecurity.

In response to the pandemic, the model of Home Team shifted from an in-person event to a more virtual setting through 2020 and 2021. While there was still an outpouring of generosity, both staff and volunteers greatly missed the camaraderie of joining together in person on such an impactful day – one steeped in tradition since 2001.

This year was an especially poignant occasion for Northwest Harvest, our partners, and our supporters to finally rally together again and experience Home Team as it had been in years past – full of community. At Lumen Field, scores of participants came out to help load semi-trucks, cheer, and exchange stories of their past Home Team Harvest’s. Rows of antique cars rolled by honking to drop-off groceries, or pulling a boats full of onions and potatoes. For many new staff members, it was their first time connecting with volunteers and watching King5 reporters live in action, all while sorting and packing a constant flow of donations.

Alongside the main event at Lumen Field, two Northwest Harvest partners – Feeding Feasible Feasts and Snohomish Food Bank participated in Home Team Harvest through a live broadcast. The importance of greater access to nutritious food without stigma is an ongoing goal partners communicate. Angel Swanson, President of Feeding Feasible Feasts in Spanaway – where there is a small but robust food pantry, discusses how critical it is to have access to free food with dignity, “Understand that you are welcome to the food, it is a right, and you should have it.”

Home Team Harvest our largest food drive of the year, makes a significant impact on the distribution capabilities of Northwest Harvest, both to our partners and to supply our free grocery store – SODO Community Market. This is even more critical as ever as inflation and the rise of food prices continually add hardship to everyone experiencing hunger. Food justice requires all of us to participate. Thank you to the countless families, individuals, organizations, and communities that join us to make a difference for a better future – one where food is a right!

Employee Spotlight: Kelsey

NWH staff member, Kelsey

Kelsey will be celebrating her one-year anniversary at Northwest Harvest this November. Kelsey grew up in Wisconsin where she spent most of her life. She was on the basketball team in her formative years, and that’s where she found her love for doing hair. “There were times when everyone on the team’s hair was braided except mine, so it was clear who did the braids” Kelsey love for doing hair led her to a career as a professional cosmetologist, before she joined Northwest Harvest. Currently working in finance, she laughed about how she made a complete shift in her career, but still has a passion for doing hair on the side. Kelsey is a modern-day Shero; she balanced being a professional, a mother and wife while going to school for business management.

Kelsey was surprised at the diversity at Northwest Harvest, stating: “In Northern Wisconsin you experience a lot of racism and moving out to Washington I’ve been able to give my kids an opportunity at a different life. Being here, I just want to show them that there’s more out there.“ Kelsy’s drive for a better future for her family is inspiring and uplifts both our community and the work here at Northwest Harvest.

Hunger Action Day

Hunger Action Day 2023 + Anti-Hunger & Nutrition Coalition logo

Join the Anti-Hunger and Nutrition Coalition and Northwest Harvest in Olympia on Tuesday, February 7, 2023 for Hunger Action Day! Hunger Action Day is an annual lobbying day for constituents like you to meet with your representatives and encourage them to support anti-hunger and anti-poverty legislation. You’ll be able to participate in-person or virtually; we’ll provide training on our legislative priorities and how to effectively advocate with your elected officials.

For those attending in-person, we will meet at Temple Beth Hatfiloh (201 8th Ave SE, Olympia, WA 98501) from 8:30am – 4:00pm on Tuesday, February 7.

2023 Legislative Priorities

This year, we are focusing our advocacy efforts on these priorities: providing school meals at no cost for all students in Washington, Hunger Free Campuses to ensure that college and community college students meet their basic needs for food and other essential needs, investing more funding in the Fruit & Vegetable Incentives Program to increase affordability of nutritious food, and increasing support for We Feed Washington and our emergency food system.

As part of our support agenda, we also will be tracking and advocating for increased housing protections, increased access to healthcare services for marginalized communities, the Guaranteed Basic Income pilot program, and the expansion of the Working Families Tax Credit. You can read about our legislative priorities in greater detail on our website. We also post weekly legislative updates on our blog to keep you all up to date on our advocacy work in Olympia during legislative session!