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Mercer Island Rotarians pack food for Northwest Harvest
Mercer Island Rotarians and their families joined 142 volunteers who packed 14,060 pounds of corn and 35,340 pounds of pears for food banks on Sept. 8. Rotarians participate in work parties at the Northwest Harvest warehouse, located in the Kent valley, every second Saturday of the month.
Rotary First Harvest organized the program, acting as a liaison between farmers and the programs that serve hungry individuals and families locally. Farmers are occasionally left with surplus fruits and vegetables that can’t be sold due to minor imperfections (such as carrots with two legs or apples that are the wrong size or color), or might not be harvested because of a glut on the market.
Nutritious produce that would otherwise be sent to a landfill or left to rot in the fields is provided to those in need by RFH, which was founded by Rotarians and continues to be one of the projects that the district supports. RFH plays a regional role and helped develop a multistate produce-trading network that has resulted in more food being distributed year-round to hunger programs in Washington, Oregon, California and Arizona.
Since its founding in 1982, RFH — a program of Rotary District 5030 — has collected and distributed nearly 165 million pounds of produce. The organization is also an advocate for enhancing the nutritional content of foods distributed through hunger programs.