Live in the Yakima Valley - A Season of Giving


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Joe Schmitt writes a weekly blog called The Good Life, featuring information about the region’s history, culture, climate and economy.  The blog also showcases new residents, clubs and organizations, outdoor recreational opportunities and local events.



A Season of Giving

A Season of Giving

November 18, 2013

A little over a year ago I wrote an article about the generous, giving spirit of Yakima residents:

While it might not be news to you, it’s nice to have an independent third party confirm it -Yakima is a great place to live. Better still – we have great people! The City of Yakima, in partnership with the National Research Center, Inc. and the International City/County Management Association recently conducted the National Citizen Survey for our area.

The survey asked Yakima residents, “In the last 12 months, about how many times, if ever, have you or other household members participated in the following activities?”  A whopping, and when I say whopping, I mean WHOPPING, 97% of residents have provided help to a friend or neighbor.  And there’s more… 61% of us volunteer for a group or activity in community. Nice job citizens of Yakima!

To follow up with this I thought it would be nice to spotlight one or two non-profit organizations in the Yakima Valley helping those in need make it through this holiday season, the winter and longer. There are many wonderful charities doing great work in our Valley that are supported and sustained by the big-hearted people in Yakima. If you have a story about a local charity helping our citizens in need please share it with us at info@ycda.comClick here to learn about volunteer opportunities in the Yakima Valley.

Hunger Stops Here

Northwest Harvest Helps Thousands Locally Everyday

Did you know that 1 in 5 people, and 1 in 4 children, are hungry in our community?

Did you know – Northwest Harvest can feed a family of three a nutritious meal for just 67 cents?

Did you know that last year Northwest Harvest distributed over 30 million pounds of food to their statewide network of more than 360 food banks, meal programs and high need schools?

Northwest Harvest is the only non-profit food bank distributor operating statewide in Washington.   Last year they provided over 1.9 million meals every month to feed the hungry.  Their statewide capacity allows them to efficiently and effectively reach people in rural communities who might otherwise go hungry… rural communities just like ours.   Northwest Harvest’s Yakima warehouse distributes to a network of over 60 food banks, meal programs and high need schools in the Central Washington area.  More than 60% of the food distributed is donated food and the balance is purchased.  In addition to securing local produce from growers, they bring staples such as rice beans, pasta, meat and fish into the region to make sure families are provided well-rounded, nutritious meals.  Their partnerships date back to their beginnings in 1967.  By providing transportation to move bulk shipments, obtaining volunteers for repacking, sorting and gleaning efforts, and responding quickly to growers, they are able to reduce waste, save the agricultural partners money, and feed the hungry with food that might otherwise end up in a landfill.   Northwest Harvest relies on you, the community, for funding and volunteers.  Last year their volunteers gave more than 110,000 hours-equal to 53 fulltime employees.

“We absolutely could not do what we do without our volunteers, donors and supportive businesses in the community.  93 cents of every dollar donated to us goes toward feeding people.   The bottom line is that we are able to be that effective and efficient because of the wonderful support we get.”                                                                                             -Sheri Bissell, Yakima Community Engagement Coordinator

How can you volunteer?   Northwest Harvest’s Yakima warehouse receives large donations of canned goods and fresh produce which require sorting, labeling and boxing prior to distribution.   So volunteers are necessary to get food ready to go out to the people in need.    We have group volunteer activities and individual volunteer activities for 3rd grade age and up!  There is no minimum time requirement to volunteer.   You can work once, once a week, once a month or once in a while!   We also have community food drives and fundraising events out in the community that we need volunteers for.   The KNDO Family Food Drive is coming up on Saturday December 7th.   We need volunteers for a 7am-9am shift and a 9am-11am shift.   Call Debbie at 453-4407 or e-mail her at

How else can you make a difference?   Donate food by holding a food drive at your work, church, business, club or in your neighborhood.   Give cash by holding a fundraiser at your business, start a workplace giving campaign or donate on-line at   Call Sheri at 469-0531 or e-mail her at

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