Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Different Kind of Food Drive

Most donations to food banks are of the canned and packaged variety, but did you know there's a way to donate fresh, local, healthy produce?   Plant a Row for the Hungry is a national campaign, started by the Garden Writers Association.  They help individuals and organizations connect to food banks and other charities that can use surplus produce.  Demand for hunger assistance has increased by 70% in recent years.  If every gardener plants a single row of extra produce and donates it to their local food bank, it will help address this need and they'll be joining others who are contributing to the over 1 million pounds of fresh produce donated each year through this campaign.

Girl Scouts from Valley Cottage School,  Juniors Troop #40027 (pictured above) planted cucumbers, green onions, squash, and lettuces in their school courtyard for those in need. The produce will be donated to a designated group (or groups) under the "Plant a Row" organization. The girls would like to continue this tradition, by encouraging upcoming Junior scouts to plant here too, in this dedicated bed.  They plan to paint the wood around the bed to earmark it for many spring plantings to come!

You don't need to be a member of a Girl Scout troop to participate.   Anyone, even the individual gardener -- or grocery buyer -- can contribute.  Below is a list of organizations in Rockland County that accept produce donations. Always call first to determine drop off times.

Catholic Community Services of Rockland (Haverstraw) 845-942-5791
Christ Episcopal Church (Suffern) 845-357-1615 ext. 16
Church of Christ (Haverstraw) 845-429-9696
Community Action Partnership (Spring Valley) 845-352-4167
Community Outreach Program (Monsey) 845-356-9600 x102
Faith Temple Outreach Food Pantry (Spring Valley) 845-507-2310
Greenbush Presbyterian Church (Blauvelt) 845-359-4666
HASCO (Spring Valley) 845-352-5897
New Generation Church of God in Christ (Spring Valley) 845-425-2557
North Rockland Food Pantry at Trinity United Methodist Church (Stony Point) 914-393-2700
Nyack Headstart (Nyack) 845-358-2234
Open Bible Food Pantry (Stony Point) 845-825-2298
People to People (West Nyack) 845-623-4900
Project Hope Food Pantry (Spring Valley) 845-596-4572
Project Turning Point @ St. Agatha's (Valley Cottage) 845-893-5323
Rockland Family Shelter (New City) 845-634-3391
Rockland Interfaith Breakfast/United Church of Spring Valley 845 356-2863
Rockland Jewish Family Services (West Nyack) 845-354-2121 x148
Sloatsburg UMC Food Pantry (Sloatsburg) (845)753-2059
Soup Angels @ First Reformed Church of Nyack 914-582-6796
St Ann's / St. Vincent de Paul Food (Nyack) 845-358-5941
St Paul's Food Cupboard (W. Congers) 845 268-3101
T.O.U.C.H. (Congers) 845-268-8023 x11
The Salvation Army (Spring Valley) 845-352-9577 x23
Tomche Shabbos of Rockland (Monsey) 845-356-0202
United Methodist Church of Spring Valley 845-356-0238
Upper Room House of Worship Food Pantry (Spring Valley) 845-638-5607

My biggest work deadline of the year is in just a couple of weeks.  I won't have much time to post, and I'll miss visiting everyone.  See you sometime in June!


sam said...

Great idea! I'll have to look for something like that in our area. Good luck with your deadline - I'm just coming off my crazy work month, so I know how you feel!

TALON said...

That is an amazing idea! I'll have to check with our local foodbanks to see if that's something they are involved in.

Take care and don't work too hard, JGH!

Ronda Laveen said...

It's nice that you posted a list of who does accept fresh produce donations. I remember a friend of mine trying to donate to our local rescue mission a couple of years ago. They weren't allowed to accept the donation. What a waste. I hope they've changed their criteria for food donations.

tina said...

I hope to be able to do this if I get enough veggies this year. Usually I just give away to acquantances and neighbors.

June said...

What a great program! One of my Girl-Scout-leader friends was telling me about it. You've inspired me to get involved!


Erin Frost said...

Awesome program; so easy to do some real helping. We have this program here in Logan County, IL, but I very much wish it could be expanded. It's also exciting to see Girl Scouts involved ... teaching kids to participate in programs like this is so important. We can't complain that they don't have social responsibility if we don't teach it to them!

Good luck with your work, and thanks for the post!

Bangchik said...

what an idea to put gardening savings into foodbank. It is a way to help people.

Squirrel of Nyack said...

What a great post~ thanks for the list of agencies accepting produce.

tut-tut said...

Good ideas and great list. It's hard to keep up your schedule AND a blog. kudos to you, JGH!

Anonymous said...

Another alternative if you are growing more food than you need is www.AmpleHarvest.org - a site that helps diminish hunger by enabling gardeners to share their garden produce/herbs with neighborhood food pantries.

The site is free both for the food pantries and the gardeners using it.

More than 2,000 food pantries nationwide are already on it and more are signing up daily.

It includes preferred delivery times, driving instructions to the pantry as well as (in many cases) information about store bought items also needed by the pantry (for after the growing season).

If your community has a food pantry, make sure they register on www.AmpleHarvest.org.

Kate said...

This is a great idea, I've always thought that a donation program for surplus vegetables would be a great idea. So much of the canned food that shows up in pantries is way too high in sodium!
I'm over in Dutchess so this is just across the river from me...I'm almost tempted to plant a few extra things, but I'm sure I'll have more zucchini than I know what to do with anyways, as always. Thanks for posting this!