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Second Harvest remodels to facilitate
volunteers' ability to pack more produce

Rod Wieber, development director at Second Harvest of Spokane, said that renovations underway at the warehouse at 1234 E. Front will give the food distribution service a new resource center where volunteers can sort produce.

“It will mean we can accept millions of pounds more in produce, because volunteers will no longer have to bend over to sort and package produce,” he said.  “Pears, potatoes, apples and other such fruits and vegetables will be emptied into a bin and will run by the volunteers on a waist-high conveyor belt.

Volunteers will be able to do the work in two to four hours, rather than one to four days, he said.

Last year, Second Harvest processed 7 million pounds of produce.  He said Second Harvest hopes to do 15 million pounds of produce when the system is in place.

While in the past three years Second Harvest has increased its distribution of food by 60 percent, Rod said that the increase has “barely kept pace with the need.” Now about one in five clients is new because of unemployment and family situations.

Along with remodeling to add this feature, there will be modification of the front façade, including removal of the awning that had become a bird habitat.

Rod expects the renovations will be completed by the end of 2011.  The project received $1.2 million in capital funding from the Washington state budget and Second Harvest is raising $1.8 million.

“We have $1 million of that left to raise from business leadership givers, private donors and our wider donor base,” he said.  “We have just launched the public phase of fund raising in our Fighting Hunger, Feeding Hope Campaign.”

Second Harvest of the Inland Northwest is in its 40th year, starting as a food bank and developing into a network of 250 neighborhood food banks and meal centers in Eastern Washington and North Idaho, providing 1.7 million pounds of donated food each month to feed hungry people.

For information, call 534-6678 or visit