For most Delawareans, one of the joys of summer is freshly harvested fruits and vegetables – strawberries, tomatoes, green beans, watermelon and more. But for residents living with food insecurity, seasonal produce may not be available or affordable.
Here’s how people can help: Plant a row for the hungry. Residents who are planting a garden, even a small one, can plant an extra row. When it’s time to harvest, instead of allowing the extra produce to go to waste, bring it to the Food Bank of Delaware warehouse in Newark or Milford from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Food Bank of Delaware will distribute the fresh produce through its network of 536 hunger-relief partners statewide. Partners include food closets, shelters, soup kitchens and other sites directly serving those in need.
The Plant a Row program started in the mid-1990s in Alaska when a garden columnist encouraged readers to plant extra to donate to an Anchorage soup kitchen. Since then, the program has been modeled successfully nationwide, so gardeners contribute to helping people in their own communities.
When a garden is starting to thrive, excess produce is always welcome. The Food Bank of Delaware assists more than 117,000 Delawareans who visit community food pantries. Last year, the food bank distributed nearly 2 million pounds of produce. The Food Bank of Delaware has also cultivated relationships with commercial farmers who share their surplus with food-insecure Delawareans.
For more information, go to www.fbd.org/produce.