For Nate and Dawn Harrell, giving back to their community comes naturally. Nate remembers the challenge his parents faced to feed him and his nine brothers and sisters, and they both worked through lean times earlier in own their careers.
Today, Nate and Dawn operate two independent Grocery Outlet locations, and are always eager to lend an important helping hand. According to Nate, “We don’t say no to any organization.”
Before becoming franchisees, Nate and Dawn both worked as suppliers to the company. When a franchise opportunity arose in Salinas, they jumped on it, and as their store flourished that entrepreneurial spirit led to them to open a second location in Watsonville in late 2010.
Since then, they have been enthusiastic supporters of the Second Harvest Food Bank for Santa Cruz County, and support a number of other organizations as well. Nate says, “We try to give a little to all organizations who ask for help.”
Nate and Dawn help out by donating a variety of products, particularly fresh foods that are no longer saleable, such as meat approaching its pull date, but also canned items and fresh produce.
The Food Bank in turn provides the items to its network of over 200 local non-profit organizations such as pantries, shelters and soup kitchens, who feed thousands of people each year. “The soup kitchens love the frozen meats! They provide a great source of protein and variety” says Rebecca Henderson, Agency Relations Manager at the Food Bank.
Food banks are not only grateful for such support, it is a vital part of feeding needy people in every community. At no time since the Great Depression have food banks had so many requests for assistance.
Since the recession began in 2008, Santa Cruz County has seen a 30% increase in the number of people seeking emergency food assistance, and today one in six Californians struggle to put food on the table and one in four children regularly don’t get enough to eat. But in Santa Cruz County, fewer people will go to bed hungry thanks to Nate and Dawn and Grocery Outlet.