Gardening season is in full swing all over the United States. In fact, many vegetable gardeners find themselves inundated with produce. So inundated, in fact, that they may not be able to use it all or even preserve it all before some of it goes to waste. However, there is a program that can take care of that problem and help others in the process.
Ampleharvest.org matches gardeners who have excess produce with food banks who need it. Most people are familiar with the periodic can drives held by the US Postal Service, churches, civic organizations and similar groups. However, there are no "produce drives" in most communities, so fresh produce is rarely available to food bank clients.
According to the USDA, 15% of Americans, or about 50.2 million people, were not sure where their next meal was coming from in 2009. Since the economy has worsened in the last two years, that number has undoubtedly risen. Many of these individuals rely on food banks for the food they do have.
As more people lose their jobs and are left to rely on food banks, there is less food available for each person who visits one. While WIC provides coupons for mothers to purchase some fresh vegetables for themselves and their small children, most people must do without. Imagine never getting anything but canned vegetables and potted meat to eat!
Ampleharvest.org has a directory of food banks willing to accept donations of vegetables from gardeners. In addition, they have brochures to take to gardening club meetings and other places gardeners congregate to spread the word. If there is a food bank in a community that does not yet have a listing on Ampleharvest.org, there is a brochure for them, too.
Ampleharvest.org means no longer will gardeners have to set a bag of squash on their neighbor's porch, ring the doorbell, and run. Now it can be delivered to a food bank and distributed to people who are glad to get it. In this case, everybody wins.