Feeding the hungry
T oo many Americans don’t have enough to eat. In 2009, the number reached 50 million, 17 million of whom were children. David Bobanick, executive director of Rotary First Harvest, a Program of Rotary District 5030 in Washington State, is committed to shrinking those statistics. He is still haunted by the memory of a woman he helped years ago at a food pantry. She reminded him of his grandmother. “That did it for me,” he says.
Since the program was founded in 1982 by the late Rotarians Norm Hillis and Mike Shanahan, of the Rotary Club of University District of Seattle, it has distributed more than 155 million pounds of surplus produce, donated by farmers, to hunger programs across Washington and throughout the United States. It has tapped into a vast network of food donors, truckers, warehouse workers, local pantries, volunteers, and partner organizations, such as AmeriCorps VISTA. The effort feeds hungry people while saving donors disposal, labor, and storage costs. Shanahan always knew the project worked because “Rotarians use their influence, and people identify with the good that is coming from it.”
View and download more photos of this project on Rotary Images .