Microsoft, 2nd Harvest to partner for second year

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Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald North Elementary students worked with adult volunteers during 2nd Harvest food distribution in February 2016. The organization will be coming back to North in 2017, courtesy of the partnership between 2nd Harvest and the Microsoft data center in Quincy.

QUINCY — Organizers are looking for people to help out when 2nd Harvest comes to Quincy to distribute food Jan. 26. The organization, based in Spokane, will be somewhere in Grant County once each month in addition to its regular schedule. That’s thanks to a partnership with the Microsoft data center in Quincy.

The January distribution will be from noon to 2 p.m. at the Igelsia Medotista church, 815 Southwest Second Ave. in Quincy. The building used to house the Chinook Lumber Company, said organizer Jack Eaton, project manager at Microsoft's Columbia Data Center.

Four food distributions will be scheduled in Quincy through the 2nd Harvest-Microsoft partnership in 2017, and one each in Moses Lake, Ephrata, Warden, Mattawa, Soap Lake, Royal City, Grand Coulee and Coulee City. Dates will be announced.

Volunteers are being sought for each 2nd Harvest visit, Eaton said. For the Jan. 26 visit to Quincy, volunteers are being asked to arrive at the church by 11 a.m. About two dozen volunteers will be needed, Eaton said, although everybody who wants to come is invited.

Volunteers help set up the tables, repackage bulk food and distribute the boxes of food to customers. No heavy lifting is required.

Eaton said the partners “anticipate distributing up to 10,000 pounds of vegetables, fruit, meat, groceries to approximately 200 households in need. Food is all generously donated by farmers, processors, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, brokers and agriculture industry organizations.”

This is the second year the Quincy data center has partnered with 2nd Harvest, Eaton said. “We’re having a very good time.” Data center employees volunteered alongside people from each community, he said. “We have enjoyed it greatly whenever our people have volunteered. It’s very satisfying.”

Congregations at various churches volunteered, and the OIC office in Moses Lake sent volunteers around the county during the year. Warden School District superintendent Dave LaBounty volunteered when 2nd Harvest went to Warden, and so did a whole bunch of kids from North Elementary in Moses Lake. LaBounty and the kids at North have already signed up for 2017, Eaton said.

People who want to volunteer to help distribute food can contact Eaton at 509-787-6352, or jeaton@microsoft.com. Eaton said co-sponsors are being invited to help as well, and those donations should be made directly to 2nd Harvest, 1234 East Front Ave., Spokane, WA 99202.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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