Photo by Rori Harrington
Got carried away with all the deals at the farmers market? If there is more produce in the
refrigerator or the garden than is needed at home, AmpleHarvest.org will help locate a
food pantry in need.
One out of eight American families rely on pantries to help feed them. For those who find themselves throwing away excess produce, there may be a simple way to get that food to those in need.
Since May 2009, AmpleHarvest.org has been helping home gardeners find neighborhood food pantries where they can share excess produce. Local food pantries generally do not offer fresh produce because of distribution and storage issues.
“The demand for food assistance nationwide has increased 30 percent throughout the last year and in many communities the increase is much higher,” said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief charity.
According to a Feeding America survey released on September 14, 2009, food banks nationwide report that the recession and unemployment are having a profound effect on their ability to feed millions of Americans living at risk of hunger.
AmpleHarvest.org allows food pantries to register their information and the days and times they accept produce. Gardeners can then use the site to locate pantries by zip code. There is no cost to food pantries or gardeners for using the site.
“In our current economic climate, food pantries need community support more than ever, while at the same time, many people are unable to make monetary donations,” said Gary Oppenheimer, AmpleHarvest.org founder. “The AmpleHarvest.org campaign enables backyard gardeners to help feed the hungry by reaching into their backyards instead of their back pockets.”
According to the Feeding America study, 55 percent of food banks reported that they or the agencies that help distribute the food they provide have had to turn people away in the last year.