An AmeriCorps program connecting service members and under-resourced communities throughout Washington state
My name is Hanna and I am an AmeriCorps member serving at Clark County Food Bank in Vancouver, Washington through Washington Service Corps.
In Clark County, where I serve, there are about 100,000 people who utilize emergency food resources throughout the year. I serve with the food bank to bring fresh produce to food insecure people as part of their farming and gleaning program. Part of what I do is reach out to farmers and start a conversation about working together with the food bank or to see if they would like to donate produce.
After reaching out to several farmers, I got a response from Danny, the owner of a small farm north of Vancouver. He had never worked with (or even heard of) the food bank before but generously offered to donate and to give me a tour of the farm. He spent over an hour with me and told me about his current farm and how he began farming. At the end he gave me a pile of fresh carrots, turnips, and cabbage as a donation. Several farmers I’ve talked to, including Danny, mentioned that they had been looking for a place to donate, but had not been able to find a connection in the area. Danny’s donation was part of over 20,000 pounds of produce that is donated each year from a range of farms all across Clark County.
I am grateful that I got the opportunity to connect local farmers, like Danny, with the food bank. I get the chance to meet with farmers, learn their stories, receive donations, all while also help form a bond between them and the food bank that will continue after my service ends. Each connection that we take the time to build enables us to have a stronger, more untied community to face issues like hunger that impact so many members of our society.