This morning I discovered a gem that I just couldn’t wait to share. I was flipping through the year-end report of the Good People Fund, a foundation that responds to significant problems such as poverty, disability, trauma, and social isolation, primarily in the United States and Israel.
One of their grantees is AmpleHarvest.org. Here’s what it said in the report:
I can tell you how much those who utilize the food pantry enjoy the opportunity to take home some fresh produce. The turnips were flying out the door yesterday. Yes, that’s right. These are the same turnips… that sit unloved in the grocery store produce section. Keep that fresh produce coming. It’s good for the whole country because healthier people means less money going to the hospitals.
These words were written by a food pantry director to Gary Oppenheimer, founder of AmpleHarvest.org. Launched in 2009, AmpleHarvest.org connects millions of home gardeners with an excess of crops to thousands of soup kitchens and food pantries that rarely receive fresh produce to distribute to clients. This simple idea has proven to be an effective weapon in our country’s assault on hunger.
With more than 4,500 pantries registered on Gary’s website, gardeners locate a pantry nearby and donate excess turnips, squash, tomatoes… whatever they cannot consume. Our country produces sufficient food to feed all its citizens. AmpleHarvest.org offers a most creative, yet simple, way to get food to where it is needed. Our funds were used to help Gary expand the organization’s reach. With a mostly web-based operation and minimal staffing, AmpleHarvest.org is a lean and effective operation.
If you’re a gardener and have excess produce (or perhaps have space to plant a little extra this year), I encourage you to use the Ample Harvest Food Pantry Search to find a local pantry where you can donate some of your fresh produce for folks who truly need it.
Or maybe you spy a fruit tree in your neighbor’s yard, and it’s clear they’re letting the fruit go to waste? Why not ring their doorbell and ask if you can pick the fruit so you can donate it to a local pantry?
If you don’t have produce to contribute, please consider making a donation to this very smart non-profit. I just did.