Community

Northwest Farmers, Fred Meyer launch food, cash drive

The goal is to raise $100,000 and 100,000 pounds of food during June Dairy Month. - Courtesy
The goal is to raise $100,000 and 100,000 pounds of food during June Dairy Month.
— image credit: Courtesy

Northwest Dairy Farmers and Fred Meyer stores are launching a month-long Northwest Farmers Fighting Hunger food and cash drive to benefit Feeding America affiliates: Food Lifeline, 2nd Harvest, and the Oregon Food Bank during June Dairy Month.

The food, cash drive, which begins Saturday, is supported by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), WSDA's food assistance staff, representatives from Washington's agricultural commodity commissions – led by the Dairy Farmers of Washington, the Washington Food Coalition, 2nd Harvest and Food Lifeline.

Bud Hover, director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture, has a keen interest in our state's network of emergency food providers and has toured food banks on both sides of the state.

"With all the food that is grown and enjoyed in Washington, no one should go hungry. Yet, today one in five of our neighbors require some assistance from a food bank," Hover said. "I hope that this food drive - and the partnerships among dairy farmers, ranchers, and growers – will bring us together so we can all help to feed the hungry among us."

During June, collection bins will be placed at every Fred Meyer store in Washington and Oregon to collect canned goods and other non-perishable food items – baby food and disposal diapers are also excellent donations.

The Auburn Fred Meyer is located at 801 Auburn Way N. The Fred Meyer stores in Kent are located at 10201 SE 240th St. and 225250 Pacific Highway S.

A direct mail postcard will be sent to 136,000 select Fred Meyer customers. The postcard features a discount coupon for a local dairy product and also has a barcode that can be scanned at the checkout stand so shoppers can make a direct cash contribution to their local food assistance organization.

"Our goal is to raise $100,000 and 100,000 pounds of donated food," said Jeff Steele, director of retail marketing and business development for the Washington Dairy Products Commission.

For many, June means the end of the school year but for a seemingly increasing number, summer also means the end of the school breakfast and lunch programs until the fall. The number of children qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches at Washington's public schools has shot up from 390,000 in 2008 to 470,000 last year.

June is also a difficult time for food banks. During the holidays people are very generous but six months later donations tail off while the demand actually increases.

Cash donations can be made at Fred Meyer check-out registers and at www.havemilk.com.

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