CSML’s marketing efforts in traditional and social media reached volunteers and donors alike by making the mission of the program known to the greater community. Though results from cold calls and emails were negligible, local media coverage about the program garnered very strong results.
Distributing informational brochuresto farms during harvest season informs producers that there is a group willing and available to help collect any excess, and gives donors more ownership of the idea and project.
Many new donors heard of our program via the newspaper, Saturday radio programs, or Facebook groups and subsequently became involved in in gleaning and donations.
Gauging the amount of produce versus the time to effectively recruit and harvest is important to maintaining both volunteer and producer relationships. Scouting a property and meeting with the grower allows a chance to ensure that you are not promising more than your organization is capable of. Providing a copy of the Bill Emmerson Good Samaritan Act was often addressed any hesitance farmers had regarding gleans on their property.
Appreciation of Donors
Thank you cards were mailed after every donation to show appreciation. The cards included a sheet signed by volunteers or food bank clients to show that this was a community supported effort. A tax-deductible receipt was also included to demonstrate benefits of donating in lieu of financial gains. Inviting donors to participate in a joint appreciation events with volunteers allows each group to engage together and continues to remind everyone that this is a community effort that no one person or group can do alone!
Community Services of Moses Lake (CSML) strives to empower the community so that “Friends help friends feed the hungry.” CSML houses the Moses Lake Food Bank and is the distribution hub for 33 partner food banks in five counties in Central Washington. These counties include the three largest agricultural producers in Washington: Yakima, Benton and Grant counties. In 2012, CSML distributed approximately 120,000 pounds of fresh produce. With the presence of the Harvest Against Hunger VISTA in 2013, that number increased to well over 300,000 lbs. of produce. In 2014, only 68,750 pounds of produce were donated, but that number went up in 2015 with over 99,675 pounds of produce collected and distributed. Overall, CSML has collected approximately 757,155 pounds of fresh produce from farmers in the area.