Harvesters Community Food Network

Rating: 4 stars   5 reviews

Issues: Food

Location: 3801 Topping Avenue Kansas City MO 64129 USA

Mission: Harvesters - The Community Food Network feeds hungry people today and works to end hunger tomorrow. Harvesters is an essential partner with 620 nonprofit agencies throughout our service area. These agencies include food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, day care centers, and senior centers. Together we feed the weakest and most vulnerable members of our community -- the sick, the elderly and the very young. Harvesters also believes that a long-term solution to hunger involves nutrition education, as well as leadership and outreach programs to increase community awareness of hunger and generate solutions to end hunger.
Programs: Harvesters’ Childhood Hunger Initiative includes distributing food to children through our network agencies, as well as our child-specific programs, Kids Cafe and the BackSnack program, and PowerPack, a program for homeless high school students. Kids Cafe provides nutritious meals to after-school and summer programs, as well as child-appropriate nutrition education through the Kids in the Kitchen curriculum. The BackSnack program provides backpacks of food to hungry children over the weekend. PowerPack, which is similar to the BackSnack program, provides a backpack filled with groceries and hygiene products to teens at risk of homelessness.

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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

Response to Ray_7 as to whether $170,000 CEO salary is "fair". Please read Charity Navigator's 2012 CEO Compensation Study. CN classifies Harvesters as a "large" charity; ie, expenses in excess of $13.5 million. Harvesters' profile: 2011 expenses $73 million & CEO's salary 0.23% of expenses. CN's Compensation Study indicates that, for large charities in the Midwest the median salary was $233,672 and based on size category: 2010 median was $245,671. For charities with expenses in the range of $50-$100 million, the median was $297,454. So, I think Karen Haren's salary of $170,000 is definitely fair.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 2 stars  

Read that the CEO makes more than $170,000 per year. Is that fair?

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Unlikely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

None

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Okay

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Unsure

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

I am a college student at University of Missouri Kansas City and we were required as part of a class project to volunteer our time (about 3.5 hours) to become aware of the community engagement process. I have volunteered many places and had and excellent experience at Harvesters KC. I would love to volunteer again and take my son soon to join in the experience.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 3 stars  

Our group of mostly older adults volunteered one afternoon. We lifted frozen meat ranging from lunch meat up to roasts and turkeys from large deep boxes into 30-lb. boxes, which we then carried to a table to be weighed. This was rather strenuous work requiring repeated bending, and involved comparatively heavy lifting considering the average age of the volunteers.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've read about the good work they do.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make sure that the task is suited to the volunteer group. Most of the time this is probably no problem.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Unsure

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Okay

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Unsure

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

Be sensitive to the age and physical condition of volunteers. I'm middle-aged, not elderly, but I have a degenerative disc in my neck and could not lift 30-pound boxes -- had to push them with my foot. Some of our volunteers were considerably older. Make sure the volunteer task is suited to the volunteers -- please save heavy lifting for younger adults. Consider that after a couple hours of fast-paced, rigorous work we might want to sit down rather than spend another 30 minutes standing on hard concrete listening to an detailed, fact-filled tour. When we finally got to sit down it was to view a video with even more facts about the organization. Speaking just for myself, a total of five minutes of factual information about the organization would have sufficed. I appreciate the good work that this organization does, but this was information overload.

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

There's a lot of work to be done there, and it was good to contribute to the cause.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Somewhat exploited.

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Rating: 5 stars  

His name is Harvey and he's our Mascot. He's the newest, freshest Turkey around (having replaced "Classic Harvey" from previous years). He also has this uncanny ability to make kids and adults alike break into smile. Harvey the Harvesters Turkey made his appearance at the Liberty Price Chopper days before Thanksgiving. A constant flow of people in and out of the store passed us by in a rush to buy their last minute goods. A near immediate transformation took place when Harvey made his first appearance, though. A congenial Star 102 employee offered to parade around in a lovely (warm!) turkey suit to draw attention to our food drive and boy, did it ever! I was touched by the faces of children, eyes lit up and broad smiles glowing as they watched him strutting his stuff. Even the parents couldn't help but smile! Little ones would rush up for a high-five and laugh excitedly, even commenting on how Harvey's fur tickled their hands. One little girl threw a fit when Mom picked her up to get in the car - she did not want to leave Harvey's presence! There was the occasional outcry when a particularly young child would scream and drag Mom the other way but this reaction was by far the exception. Their parents smiled, enjoying the laughter a simple costume brought to their children. They were more open to listening to us explain the needs of the hungry and quite often left the store with goods in hand for us. Some lucky children even gave the cans directly to Harvey! (sort of...feathers aren't ideal for holding cans) By far, the most startling transformation were the adults without children. Before his appearance, they would walk by briskly and avoided eye contact at all costs. Yet when Harvey started wiggling his tail to old Christmas tunes, they would watch with a bemused smile and a slight twinkle in their eyes. Their guards dropped and they listened, often asking about specific needs in the community. Who knew what an impact a turkey costume could make?

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

knowing that so many adults and children are fed each week by the work that we do.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not change anything!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

I loved the communal aspect of talking with new people while volunteering.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Useful

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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