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Posted on Sep 25, 2017

Apples sent to Houston for hurricane recovery help

A truckload of apples put together with the leadership of Quincy Valley individuals was expected to arrive last week at the Houston Food Bank. It is the second shipment of food in a local grass-roots effort to help people recover from Hurricane Harvey.
Harriet Weber, who started the Quincy Food for Texas campaign, was the initiator of the apple shipment, but it was Chris Vizena, a farmer near Quincy and a partner in Columbia Valley Fruit company, who put it all together and paid for the trucking to Houston.
“It was an opportunity for some packers to donate,” Vizena said. He had heard that the Houston Food Bank had requested apples, “so when I found out about it, I volunteered to help put it together.”
Among his contacts in the fruit packing business, he got a quick response for apples.
“They jumped right on it,” he said.
Together, 20 pallets of apples, or about 28 tons, were donated by five companies: Columbia Valley Fruit, in Union Gap; Double Diamond Fruit, in Quincy; Borton Fruit, in Yakima; Apple King, in Yakima; and Hansen Fruit & Cold Storage, also in Yakima.
“When something like this happens, people stand up. I have always found that people step up to the plate,” he said.
The truck made two stops, at Double Diamond in Quincy and at Columbia Valley Fruit, where the rest of the donated fruit was staged, Vizena said. The apples were shipped to the main Houston distribution center for the smaller food banks in the area, he explained.
“It was a great setup,” he said. “It went very smoothly.”
Camille Morgan, controller at Double Diamond Fruit, said the company was more than happy to help when contacted by Harriet Weber about a shipment of local apples.
After a little hunting, the company put together four pallets loaded with apples for the hurricane victims.
“We very often make donations to various causes,” Morgan said. Usually the needs are smaller and local, but, “this was an extraordinary circumstance. When you live so far away, there is not a lot you can do, but Harriet and Chris made it possible for us to do more than we could alone.”
The food shipments were instigated by Harriet Weber, of Quincy, who saw the tragedy and difficult conditions left by the hurricane in southeastern Texas and Louisiana and decided there was something Quincy Valley, with its abundance of food and packing companies, could do to help.
She made a lot of phone calls, and she set up a fundraising campaign with a donation account at Wheatland Bank in Quincy and a page at GoFundMe.com. The donations came in, creating a way to pay for the transportation.
The first shipment of Quincy Food for Texas left Quincy on Sept. 6, a trailer loaded with dry beans donated by local companies. The trucking was covered by donations, after a hefty discount from the trucking company, Ludtke Pacific Trucking.

Local drive for hurricane relief
Contact Harriet Weber about helping with food shipments or other donations at 398-1949 or harrietweber787@gmail.com.
Cash donations are being taken at Wheatland Bank in Quincy and at www.gofundme.com/quincy-food-for-texas.
Weber says she is working on getting a truckload of potatoes and onions for the Houston Food Bank, too, and seeks donations from farmers and packers.
She reported that some of the cash donations that have come in to Quincy Food for Texas, have gone to help a small private school in Texas that lost its building in the flooding from Hurricane Harvey. She said students at the school are meeting in a furniture store, and she sent $5,000 to help the school get back on its feet.

By Dave Burgess, qvpreditor@gmail.com

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