September is Hunger Action Month. A 2014 Hunger in America study showed that 1 in 7.5 people in metro Atlanta and northern Georgia relies on food pantries and meal service programs. This includes over 164,000 children and 64,000 seniors.
As gardeners we may be in a unique position to donate fresh food to a local food pantry. Most food pantries are stocked with canned and dry goods. Fresh food for their clients could be life changing.
Is your community or school garden donating to a food pantry? Some gardens have specific areas dedicated to donation. The entire group is responsible for working those areas and someone is assigned to harvest and deliver the produce.
Some gardens were formed with the purpose of growing food for others.
Do you have the extra produce and don’t know where to take it? Does your group of community gardeners want to start growing for others?
The Atlanta Community Food Bank serves 29 Georgia counties and can direct you to an agency in your area that would be thrilled to have your fresh produce. Feeding America can help find a food bank near you. Churches often house food pantries as a mission. Or, your local UGA Extension Agent may also be able to direct you.
One gardener recently shared a story of her involvement with her local food bank. She made arrangements one fall morning to arrive at the agency with freshly picked and washed lettuce.
As she was leaving the food bank she overheard two mothers with young children discussing how wonderful it was going to be to serve fresh salads for dinner that night. The gardener says “their excitement spurred me on to continue sharing my garden with others.”