Feeding community needs in Quincy with Second Harvest and Microsoft
In rural Grant County, Washington, as much as 20 percent of the population lives in poverty. Organizations like Second Harvest work to help feed people in need. But they can’t do it alone, and Microsoft and its datacenter employees stepped up to help Second Harvest and support the residents of the Quincy Valley.
In October 2015, the local Lutheran church approached employees at the Microsoft Quincy datacenter seeking volunteers for a massive undertaking: a mobile food bank event that distributes 10,000 pounds of donated food to those in need. After working at the event, Jack Eaton, the Facilities Program Manager at the datacenter, convinced Microsoft to provide financial support for 10 mobile food bank events in Grant County the following year.
The mobile food bank is held in partnership with Second Harvest, which brings eight to ten pallets of surplus and donated food, including breads and crackers, potatoes, carrots, squash, and protein—ranging from locally raised chicken to frozen Alaska salmon steaks. Because of Microsoft’s contribution to the overhead costs and the coordination of volunteers, additional donations go straight to Second Harvest to support other work.
These events are incredibly popular among both volunteers and the community. Volunteers come not just from Microsoft, but also from the senior center, local schools and churches, the Lions Club, and other datacenters in the community. In addition to organizing vast amounts of volunteers, Microsoft donated $1,000 for each of these events in 2016. In 2017, Microsoft increased its commitment to $2,000 per event to cover the overhead costs involved with logistics, transportation, and storage.
Microsoft also advertises these food bank events to potential clientele via community outreach in local newspapers and flier distribution at libraries, churches, schools, shelters, and other facilities. Translations of the announcements are tailored to the local communities.