The Harvest House Committee, a subset of Valley United Way’s Corporate Volunteer Council, tackles hunger by collecting food in a unique way throughout Shelton, Connecticut.
The Committee organizes food drives in the corporate community each month. Moreover, every two years they extend those efforts and construct a house made out of food by joining forces with the community and local corporate and nonprofit partners to collect 100,000 items of food.
Local corporate partners who are members of the Corporate Volunteer Council conceived of the project, including one of the members, an architectural firm, developed the designs for the original house. Looking for ways to engage others in the community, the Committee turned over the design and construction of the fourth Harvest House to faculty and students at a local technical school.
Additionally, the Committee invites the entire community to participate in the actual building of the house by bringing their food items and placing them on the walls. As a result, an entire community festival has grown around the building of the house, which stands as a symbol of the community’s caring and sharing. After two days, the Committee dismantles the house and distributes all the food collected to area food banks. With each house built, the project engages more than 30 corporations, hundreds of employees, area high schools, a youth leadership program, and hundreds of community members to collect 100,000 food items.
This year, marks the eighth year for the Harvest House, and the Committee has done remarkable work in spotlighting an important community issue and working to resolve it. As just one of the unique projects conducted by Valley United Way’s Corporate Volunteer Council, it has harnessed the good corporate citizenship of area corporations for the benefit of the entire community.