There is nothing quite as delicious as summer produce and with the days getting longer and warmer, my head is filled with garden plans. This year, I will be planting a vertical garden, in the hope that my family will be able to enjoy more of our produce than the hungry creatures that share our backyard.
While we are able to enjoy the bounty of our labor, we know that there are those who are not as fortunate.
1 in 7 American households struggle with food insecurity. Many of those households rely on their local food pantries for food, toiletries and other essential items for their families. Often food pantries stock shelf stable items such as dried pasta, rice, canned meats and powdered milk. They are not always able to provide fresh produce for their clients. While these pantry items help keep hungry bellies full, they do not provide the nutrition, taste or variety of freshly picked produce.
There are ways that we can help our local food pantries. One easy way to help is to plant an extra row of vegetables in your garden for the food pantry. The extra row does not require a lot of extra work but provides much needed, fresh vegetables for your local pantry.
Don’t have the space for gardening? Many community or townships have large community gardens where you can use a plot for your garden. Check your community websites to find out how to reserve a plot. Many religious organizations also plant gardens to provide fresh produce for their local food bank. Consider volunteering at your local religious organization’s garden to contribute without having to manage your own garden. Most organizations are happy to have extra hands for planting, weeding, watering and harvesting.
Not a gardener? There are ways you can still help. The next time you are at the grocery store, buy a little extra produce specifically for the food pantry. You can also donate items that are not food related. Along with non-perishable food items, many food pantries stock toilet paper, baby food, diapers, feminine hygiene items, toothpaste and soap. Contact your local food pantry ahead of time to see if they have a need for those items.
Nothing says summer like the taste of fresh produce, picked right out of the garden and that truly is something that no one should go without.
We can make a difference.
Need more information? Here are some resources: