A new truck that will be used to collect fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms for Hopelink’s five local food banks made its debut in the Snoqualmie Valley last month, thanks to a $25,000 grant from Bank of America. The truck was officially unveiled during a ceremony at Oxbow Farm &Conservation Center in Carnation.
In October 2016, Bank of America awarded Redmond-based Hopelink a grant to purchase a used truck for Hopelink Harvest that will improve efficiency and increase the number of pounds of fresh produce available to homeless and low-income people living in north and east King County. Previously, the program often relied on private vehicles provided by Hopelink Harvest volunteers, which have limited capacity, were unable to drive into the fields and were sometimes affected by weather, mud or harsh road conditions.
Now in its fifth year, Hopelink Harvest is the hub of Hopelink’s overall efforts to increase access to healthy food. Through partnerships with 12 local farms, farmers markets and community gardens, along with 100 volunteers, the Snoqualmie Valley-based program collects tens of thousands of pounds of produce during the harvesting season to provide fresh, nutritious produce for the more than 5,000 households served annually. Over the years, Hopelink Harvest has grown from an on-call gleaning program in which farmers would notify Hopelink when there was a crop available, to a recurring weekly schedule at several farms.
Hopelink CEO Lauren Thomas said the grant used to purchase the Hopelink Harvest truck is just the latest in Bank of America’s history of generous giving to Hopelink.
“Since 2006, Bank of America has partnered with Hopelink, providing us with nearly $400,000 in grants and sponsorships to support Hopelink programs and services,” Thomas said. “They have been an exceptionally generous partner for more than a decade, and this latest grant is another example of their commitment to helping Hopelink clients gain stability and a path out of poverty.”
“At Bank of America, we believe it’s important to support organizations, like Hopelink, that help people when they need it most, which is why hunger relief is one of our core areas of focus,” said Anthony DiBlasi, Washington state president of Bank of America. “The Hopelink Harvest program addresses a critical need for Puget Sound families, which ultimately contributes to a healthy economy for the region.”