EastWest Food Rescue

[NOTE:  Gary Whitsell is the treasurer of our nonprofit fiscal sponsor, Woodinville Rotary Charitable Foundation.  We're currently seeking our own 501(c)(3) status.] 

On April 29, 2020, Bothell, Washington, resident George Ahearn alerted in the Bothell Community Facebook group, in a post that began "Wasted Food...!,"  that farmers in his hometown of Othello and elsewhere in Eastern Washington were ploughing under or giving away their crops because they can't sell them.  Why?  Another devastating impact of the COVID-19 crisis.  His plan:  Rent a trailer and "bring a ton (literally) of spuds and onions to food banks in our region" by that Friday.  

 But, he needed a bigger truck and had questions about food banks -- did anybody have any helpful input?  Hundreds of community members quickly answered the call and, less than two days later, a small convoy of four trucks, two with trailers, left Bellevue Honda (following their sponsored Ridgeline) at 5:30 a.m., drove to Othello (Adams County), picked up 12,280 pounds of potatoes donated by TerraGold Farms and 6,450 pounds of onions (purchased by Bellevue Honda and by George) and drove right back to Western WA.  

That produce, which otherwise would have gone to waste, was accepted for delivery by Farmer Frog farms  in Woodinville, repackaged for distribution by about a dozen volunteers gathered by Woodinville Rotary Club, and then shared with multiple local food banks and hundreds of individual families. 

                    Thus was EastWest Food Rescue, an entirely grassroots effort, born.  

47854128_1588623378837746_r.jpegLoading onions into  Keith Wells' rig, at Target Ag in Othello.

47854128_1588623399947904_r.jpegJulie Campbell, Convoy Coordinator, and Nancy Balin, President and Operations Manager, unloading onions at VOA/Everett Food Bank.

47854128_1588623417775279_r.jpegGeorge Ahearn, Treasurer, Acquisitions and Farmer Relations, original Idea Man, and Othello native.

47854128_1588623433739374_r.jpegTerraGold Farms loading up a volunteer's truck

47854128_1588623457190434_r.jpeg5:00 a.m. convoy meet-up at Bellevue Honda at our very first convoy on May 1, 2020.

47854128_1588623512690686_r.jpegUnloading onions at VOA Everett Food Bank 

We still are ramping up, but we are growing exponentially every week -- and we know what our mission is:   Take food and supplies to people in hardship in farming communities in Eastern Washington, bring back much-needed food for hungry people in Western Washington, and support farmers all over Washington.  

We need your help! 

Trucks (and trailers, ideally) for our convoys.  Got one yourself?  Know a shipping company?  Contact us here: I want to help the convoy . So many thanks to Bellevue Honda , Mayor Elaine Cook and the City of Woodinville , Eric Branthwaite at  PCC Redmond , Betty at Dels Truck Rentals, Lee Johnson Family Auto Group , Total Rental Center Everett , and the list is growing every day!

Volunteers to repack loose potatoes into bags, at Farmer Frog in Woodinville.  [Masks and social distancing are required.  We will supply masks if you don't have any.]  Contact us here:  I want to help bag

Othello has food needs!  We are looking for bulk pinto beans, canned meat or fish, formula, diapers and any other non-perishable, packaged food.  Email us at EastWestFoodRescue@gmail.com if you can help!

Financial donations, to purchase supplies to bring to our friends in Eastern Washington; to purchase food from farmers; to provide support to the farmers who are donating their crops to us or selling them for less than their costs and hence at a loss; and otherwise to support our mission.  You're in the right place now to do that!

Are you a food bank that needs food?  Please reach out directly to Farmer Frog.

Are you in hardship and needing food for yourself or your family?  Please start by reaching out to your local food bank.  If your food bank needs food, please direct them to Food Bank signup 

JOIN US!  And thank you for helping us to help our Washington neighbors, both East and West.

With Warmest Gratitude,

EastWest Food Rescue

Nancy Balin, President, Operations Manager
George Ahearn, Treasurer, Acquisitions and Farmer Relations Manager
Zsofia Pazstor, Secretary, Distribution Manager, Farmer Frog Farms 
Julie Campbell, Caravan Coordinator
Erika Botello, Volunteer Coordinator
Nancy Clifton, Web Designer
Marion Clifton, Web Designer

A note:  Until we have received our own 501(c)(3) ruling from the IRS, Woodinville Rotary Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is acting as our fiscal sponsor.  As a result, your donations may be tax-deductible.  Please consult your tax advisor.


  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 1 d
    • $50 
    • 2 d
  • Carolyn Hastings 
    • $50 
    • 2 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $200 
    • 3 d
  • Hillarie Windish 
    • $100 
    • 4 d
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Organizer and beneficiary

Woodinville Rotary Charitable Foundation 
Woodinville, WA
Gary Whitsell 
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