Harvesters Mobile Food Pantry serves communities

Harvesters’ mission is to feed hungry people today and work to end hunger tomorrow.

Michelle Boltz, [email protected], is a senior mass media major.

The Harvesters Mobile Food Pantry started in 2010. Available for distribution are fresh vegetables, fruit, dairy and baked goods. They distribute about 20,000 pounds of food each second Tuesday of every month. On average, Harvesters gives food to about 2,000-2,500 people. Many of their recipients pick up food for their family or neighbors. Harvesters need anywhere from 50 to 70 volunteers to accomplish this. Since the vehicles arrive beginning at about 5 a.m., volunteers arrive about that time to start setting up. The vehicles are parked in the south parking lot at the Kansas Expocentre until distribution begins at 9. The vehicles start in line in the order that they arrived and are split in two lines. The food is placed in their vehicles as they go through the lines.

Two semi trucks arrive at about 8:15 a.m. The food is unloaded on pallets by the truck drivers so that the volunteers can create two rows. Volunteers separate the food according to the number of people in their household. They start at 9, and are finished in about two hours.

Volunteers come from TurnAround Team neighborhoods, the Topeka Bible Church, who have been with Harvesters since the beginning, and have become the core. Students from Washburn University, along with people who saw it on television, have also come to help out.

Harvesters’ food distribution is one of the largest food distribution centers. It is home-based in Kansas City, and covers 26-28 counties in Missouri and Kansas. They are a great organization whose message is to feed persons who haven’t enough food or just need a little help.

Volunteers may also sign up for food. The only requirement to sign up are your names, number of people in your household and their ages. There are no ID or income requirements, but the need is great for so many people.