The Community Can Help with Hunger Relief

The Community Can Help with Hunger Relief

Dec 11, 2019

SPOKANE COUNTY -- The Spokane Regional Heath District (SRHD) says the community can help with hunger relief by volunteering.

Community members often want to prepare food at home and give it directly to those in need, but the health district advises against it.

“Individuals who are homeless are more likely to become ill from improperly handled food due to their lack of access to proper washing facilities,” said Lisa Breen, an environmental health specialist for SRHD’s food safety program. “Bacteria can grow quickly in foods like meats, dairy products and cooked vegetables, so for safety reasons the food should only be distributed in facilities that have the proper equipment and food handling procedures.”

The best way community members can help those who are in need of food is to volunteer. Local hunger relief organizations need volunteers as well as community partners to help collect, distribute and serve food.

Another good way to help those in need is to give a financial contribution, allowing organizations to help even more people in need by purchasing safe, healthy food options in bulk.

If you’d like to donate food, it should be given to a hunger relief agency, rather than directly to someone in need. This ensures two things: 1) The food donated is safe and handled properly; 2) People who are homeless are also introduced to other services and programs that could help lift them out of homelessness.

Keep in mind when donating food that only the following foods can be safely donated to hunger relief agencies:

  • Commercially Packaged Shelf-Stable Foods
    Product packaging and cans must be intact and in good condition.
  • Fresh Produce
    Homegrown or other fresh, uncut produce may be donated.

Non-profit groups planning to participate in food distribution should first contact SRHD at FoodSafetyProgram@srhd.org to learn the requirements necessary for approval to start food distribution.

Contact any of these volunteer groups to find out how to help provide food to those in need:

Feed Spokane
Northwest Harvest
Second Harvest
Spokane Cares

If you have questions, please email: FoodSafetyProgram@srhd.org.

Other helpful resources:
SRHD’s Hunger Relief Guidelines
Healthy Giving Council Give Smart Video
Spokane Cares: Free Meal Locations & What You Can Do