One Man Helped Rescue Over Two Million Pounds of Farmers' Food Crops to Help Those in Need During COVID-19
George Ahearn's original act of kindness grew into the EastWest Food Rescue, an organization that aims to raise money for farmers and direct excess farm-grown crops towards food banks.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has notably impacted multiple industries and people's livelihoods all over the world. But as the virus continues to surge throughout the United States, George Ahearn, who resides in Washington, has made it his mission to help the food sector and those in need in the midst of the pandemic. According to the Good News Network, Ahearn first decided to take action after hearing about the setbacks farmers are currently facing due to COVID-19 shutdowns. "They immediately lost all the restaurant contracts they had for these quality potatoes and onions. And since European countries were shut down, they weren't exporting them because their restaurants were closed," he told the outlet.
Many rural famers were left with excess crops that could not be sold and would, therefore, have been left to rot. Ahearn quickly decided to help direct the remaining produce to food banks in Seattle—but he needed some help. He asked friends on Facebook if he could borrow a truck or trailer to transport 2,000 pounds of onions and potatoes into the city. The response was bigger than he anticipated: He was offered four trucks and two trailers, and, with some support, ultimately hauled over nine tons of food to help feed communities in need.
Ahearn's solo initiative quickly turned into a nonprofit organization, the EastWest Food Rescue. So far, he and his team have saved almost two-and-a-half million pounds of food from local farmland and gathered donations for the farmers who have been impacted by the pandemic.
While the mission is "extremely organic and took on a life of its own almost immediately," said Nancy Balin, who is now the president of the nonprofit organization, the mission is ever-growing. The teams overarching goal? To save over 10 million pounds of food and raise over $250,000 in the process.