La Montañita Co-op, Feds Feed Families volunteers and Roadrunner Food Bank recently joined forces to hold a gleaning event, collecting 1,000 pounds of cherries and apricots earlier this summer. The produce will be distributed through the Food Bank’s network of partner agencies and programs helping hungry people.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are important in the diet of children, adults and seniors experiencing hunger. Hungry people do not always have the ability to buy produce. Experts say that vulnerable populations are often in poorer health and likely to experience diabetes, obesity and other health issues when they don’t have enough nutritious food to eat.
Gleaning programs can make a difference by bringing volunteers to locations to harvest excess fruits and vegetables on local farms, in neighborhoods with community gardens and other venues to give to hunger-relief organizations.
Steve Warshawer, Enterprise Development Director of La Moñtanita said, “Being able to connect local farmers to organizations supplying important sources of food to hungry people has been a remarkable experience for us. If food products aren’t able to make it to a local market for whatever reason, gleaning programs like this can help hunger relief organizations make nutritious food available to vulnerable people.”
While Roadrunner Food Bank distributed more than 10 million pounds of produce last year, they also seeks new ways to obtain healthy food. Gleaning programs can help provide a consistent base of nutritious food to supply to hungry people.
Roadrunner Food Bank’s Chief Operating Officer Teresa Johansen said, “One of our roles is to provide as much nutritious food as possible. Working with local farmers and volunteers from the Forest Service gives us a new way to source and obtain healthy food. It is important to maintain a consistent supply of produce for the benefit of nearly 40,000 hungry people we help every week. One way we can keep produce on hand is through gleaning programs and food rescue activities.”
To get involved in future gleaning volunteer projects, contact Candace Rodriguez (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call 505.349.8837.