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We accomplished each of our goals for the grant project.  (1) We served 11 Yakima Valley schools: 7 in Yakima (Adams, Barge-Lincoln, Garfield, Hoover, Martin Luther King Jr. and Ridgeview elementary schools, plus Washington Middle School) and 4 Toppenish elementary schools (Garfield, Kirkwood, Lincoln, and Valley View). (2) We served the expected number of children, about 500 each month. (3) We were able to distribute substantially more food 4,570 pounds per school this year compared with 3,740 pounds the prior year, a 27% increase. (4) We distributed nutrition handouts in English and Spanish to participating families as planned, as well as other referral and support information requested by our school program coordinators: food bank and meal program referrals; how to access food stamps or WIC; and options for summer nutrition programs once school meals and backpack programs ended with the school year in June.

One reason we exceeded our expectation is that this year, instead of including snacks with our daily menus, we provided tuna and pinto beans as extra meal items. Both were well-received and have been added to the menus for the current year. Together, we and our partner schools distributed 37,990 nutritious, take-home meals to vulnerable young Yakima Valley children.

Our long-standing relationship with Yakima Valley schools highlights to us the issue of child hunger. The free/reduced lunch eligibility rates of Yakima County schools average 80%, well above the state average of 46%. Of the 614,000 people served last year by our 22 Yakima County food banks and meal programs, children represent 41%. This is among the highest percentages of any county in Washington. It means at least 250,000 Yakima children live in households at risk of hunger, so we would welcome any initiative by the Foundation to improve support or access to child nutrition programs, public or private. Second, we treasure our Yakima farmer relationships and the millions of pounds of high-quality produce they provide, not only for our Yakima partners but our entire statewide network. We continually promote farm-to-food bank relationships within our network, and we would love to see more ways to get Yakima’s nutritious surplus produce to hungry households.

You can learn more about Northwest Harvest on their website.

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111 University Parkway, Suite 102
Yakima, WA 98901
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Fax: 509-457-7625
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