One out of six Americans is food insecure, meaning they don’t know from where their next meal will come. No matter where you live, there are people in your community that are experiencing hunger. Food pantries help fill in the gaps but are continuously lacking in healthy, fresh produce to offer. Luckily, you can help alleviate this issue in your own neighborhood!
As home gardeners, you are already doing a wonderful thing when you grow your own food. You know that it is good for you, your family, and the environment. By donating any extra food you’ve grown, you can improve the health of your community as well. When you donate your excess garden bounty, you are helping to relieve hunger and making an impact on obesity and other food-related diseases.
Consider planting an extra row or even a few additional plants to donate to a local food pantry. And if you find yourself with a runaway zucchini plant or another bountiful crop that gives you more than you can eat, don’t let it go to waste! Even a small donation will help increase food security in your area.
Click here to enter your zip code to find a registered pantry near you! Then, click on that pantry to learn more about them including crucial information like their hours of operation and how much fresh produce they can accept in one delivery. When in doubt, give them a call! Most pantries are happy to answer your questions and make donating easy!
Once you find a food pantry or food bank near you, it’s time to donate your extra produce! Most food pantries have specific drop-off days and times so be sure to find out when they are available to receive donations. Please be sure to only donate food that is high-quality enough that you yourself would eat it. Donations need to be relatively clean and of a suitable ripeness. Even small donations are welcome at most pantries! Or you can always pool your resources with your neighbors to form a larger donation!
Consider donating regularly to the pantry closest to you. Your contribution will go directly to the hungry people in your community. You will have the gratitude of your community and all of us here at AmpleHarvest.org. In fact, we would love to hear about your donations! Send an email to IShared@AmpleHarvest.org and let us know how much produce you were able to share. You can also visit our Facebook page and post the information there too, or use hashtag #AmpleHarvest on your Instagram photos.
Do you know of a pantry in your area that isn’t listed? Does your area come up “blank” on our registry?You can help! Encourage pantries in your area to fill out the registration form to get listed.*
We created AmpleHarvest.org to help increase visibility for food pantries who may otherwise fly “under the radar” without their own website or means of advertisement. If you know of a pantry in your area, contact them to see if they will accept donations of fresh produce. Then you can direct them to AmpleHarvest.org so they can register and get found!
You can also hunt down any “hidden” pantries in your area to help them get registered.* See if a place of worship or other civic organization in your community has one. Call your regional food bank (www.feedingamerica.org can help you find it) and ask them if they can help you.
Once they are registered, the next backyard gardener in your area looking to share their bounty will not experience the problems you did!
*Please do not register a pantry without their knowledge or consent. It is important that a pantry register itself. Thank you!
“I used to feel silly just taking a handful of peppers to the pantry until I realized how much three large, fresh, local, organic peppers would cost at the grocery store and what a gift it truly was for a mom or dad who might not have enough money to buy them for their family. That made me want to share even if I felt like it was not enough.”
– Emily, home gardener and former Grower Outreach Coordinator at AmpleHarvest.org.