Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Second Harvest halts monthly food bank deliveries

Short term solutions proposed


BREWSTER – Operations that have always been close to the bone for the Brewster Food Bank just got a little leaner after Second Harvest in Spokane announced last month that it is suspending its monthly food deliveries.

Second Harvest is a nonprofit that supplies a network of 285 partner food banks, meal sites and other programs feeding people in need in 21 counties in Eastern Washington and five counties in North Idaho.

The news came as a surprise to the Okanogan County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) during their mid-December meeting. Second Harvest advised that the combination of low crop yields and high fuel prices were major factors affecting the service.

Former Brewster Food Bank manager Dan Biddle told The Quad last Friday, Dec. 30, that Second Harvest sources cannot resume monthly deliveries of partial loads of food until economic and supply issues improve.

“The last time I talked to them it was left at: ‘Let’s see what happens in a couple of months,’” Biddle said.

Biddle said that the Second Harvest truck would also pickup back hauls of fruit from Gebbers Farms on return trips to Spokane.

At its Dec. 19 meeting the BOCC proposed to allocate $200,000 in America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to help Okanogan County pantries while a long-term remedy is developed.

Commissioner Chris Branch said he has reached out to the Okanogan County Community Action Council (OCCAC), Aging and Adult Care and North Central Accountable Community of Health (NCACH) among others to help come up with a solution.

Church said a source at The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) wrote that the agency will “be providing crisis funding to eastern Washington to TEFAP contractors given the impact of service change at Second Harvest.”

The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service website ( said TEFAP “is a federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans, including elderly people, by providing them with emergency food assistance at no cost. Through TEFAP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) purchases a variety of nutritious, high-quality USDA Foods, and makes those foods available to state distributing agencies.”

The Catholic Charities Brewster Food Bank gets food and donations from other sources, but the Second Harvest deliveries play a vital role in keeping shelves stocked for the weekly Thursday food distributions.



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