At Burwinkel Farms in Hamilton, Ohio, the workday starts early, with picking corn in the fields. “The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye,” goes the famous lyric from the musical Oklahoma. Karen Burwinkel, the manager of the farm, says she cannot quite confirm this for they have never had an elephant visit.
What Burwinkel can say for certain is they have delicious corn and other yummy fruits and vegetables. Each summer morning, trucks are loaded with food to be taken to locations across the Cincinnati area.
Burwinkel Farms is a summer tradition, one that has been operating since 1918.
Very quietly, too, Burwinkel is helping fight hunger in the community. Hunger is a silent crisis in the Cincinnati area. Feeding America says that 18.5 percent of the county’s population suffers from hunger. Among children the “food insecurity” rate is 21.1 percent.
Burwinkel Farms is helping out. When produce is not sold, they make sure it is not wasted. Once a week, they donate food to the Holy Family Church Food Pantry in Price Hill.
Diana Penick, who manages the pantry, says they have helped 7,170 families in need during the past year. “In the past year we served 20,366 people. Not bad for a small church pantry!” The pantry is part of the Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank system.
Burwinkel Farms makes its donations during the summer months, which are most critical, as donations to food pantries often drop off during this time period compared to the holiday season. Also, during the summer many children lose access to the federal school lunch and breakfast programs. Summer feeding is available in some locations but has not reached anywhere near the coverage provided during the school year.
Burwinkel Farms makes its donation to Holy Family through its Delhi location on Sundays. This has been ongoing since last year. You can even stop by and “purchase” food to be added to the donation each week.
Hunger in America is a growing crisis, with more than 50 million people impacted. Tough economic times are here and Congress is threatening to reduce the food stamp program (SNAP) which will place even more pressure on already overstretched food banks.
Following Burwinkel’s example means wasting no food, and doing what you can to support hunger relief. The great summer delight of corn is more than a nutritious food; it also brings hope to those in need.