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Stories from the Harvest: June 2022

Addressing Summer Hunger  |  Taking B(l)ack Pride  |  Employee Spotlight

Addressing Summer Hunger

For children that experience food insecurity, schools provide a consistent source of nutritious meals. When schools are closed for summer break, access is limited. To address hunger during the summer months, schools and community-based organizations can operate summer meals sites using federal funds from the Summer Food Service Program. Unfortunately, Washington consistently ranks near the bottom 15 states in the country in reaching low-income children who receive subsidized school meals; in 2019, though Washington increased participation by 2.4% from the previous summer, we ranked 35th in the U.S.

When schools are closed, the Summer Meals Program provides free meals to all children (age 0 through 18) in areas where 50% or more kids qualify for free/reduced price school meals. Summer Meals programs can be sponsored by schools, community-based organizations, and public entities (cities, parks departments, libraries). These programs may serve breakfast, lunch and/or snack; they can operate seven days a week; and they can operate for as long or as short a period as they choose while schools are closed.

Banner: Free summer meals for ages 18 and underTo locate a summer meal program, use the information below:

Summer Meals Locator
1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479)
or text “Food” to 304-304

Summer Meals Locator
1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273)
or text “Comida” to 304-304

Taking B(l)ack Pride

On Saturday, June 25th, Taking B(l)ack Pride will be hosting Seachella at Seattle Center to celebrate the Queer Trans Black Indigenous Community of Color.

Taking B(l)ack Pride, a non-profit organization, seeks to empower the Black, Indigenous, People of Color transgender, queer and gender diverse communities to take charge of the ways they own joy, grief, healing, anger, and pride. They create opportunities for their community to collectively and intimately take part in celebrating the complexities of BIPOC QT experiences and culture.

People in the LGBTQIA+ community face employment discrimination. In 29 states, there are no explicit statewide laws protecting people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations. This leaves people at higher risk of experiencing poverty and food insecurity. 27% of all LGBTQIA people rely on SNAP, nearly double the rate of non-LGBTQIA peers. Compounded with the intersection of race, hunger disproportionately impacts BIPOC QT communities, and there remains much work to be done to end hunger for everyone.

Here at Northwest Harvest, we understand that as allies it takes more than words to support these communities. This year Northwest Harvest is a proud sponsor of Taking B(l)ack Pride and hope that you will join us in giving directly to their organization.


Employee Spotlight

Our warehouse associate and a true Washingtonian, DJ and his family have lived all over the greater Seattle area, Delridge, White Center, Tacoma, Puyallup, and West Seattle. Family is everything and the weekends are all about coming together, cooking, grilling, and perhaps some karaoke after a few drinks with the boys. C’mon!

If you get lucky you might hear a rendition of Ordinary People by John Legend from DJ himself – and you can for sure count on the unofficial Samoan anthem, Tennessee Whiskey playing. With more than 30 brothers and sisters (“don’t call them cousins!”) DJ explains the family dynamic and how there’s plenty of talent in the kitchen “a lot of them like to cook but none of ‘em like to do the dishes.”

Family helps guide and support each other – DJ lives by the wise words of his aunties and grandma; to do everything with a kind heart and don’t expect anything in return. After all, DJ says “our great women define us as men.”

With such a kind heart, it’s no wonder DJ found his way to working in a non-profit – “I like the satisfaction of being able to help people, money doesn’t make us.” One of these memorable experiences happened recently while working at Kent. One day at the warehouse a man came in asking if we had any canned goods to help his family – he was between paychecks working as a truck driver. DJ gathered some items and it brought tears to the man’s eyes. DJ remembers when his family was trying to put food on the table for his brothers and sisters. His parents, uncles, and aunts would sacrifice meals so the kids wouldn’t go hungry. “I am looking to pay it forward, Northwest Harvest isn’t BS about their mission – we are here to help.”