It’s the beginning of August and here in New Jersey home gardeners are starting to reap great rewards from their careful tending of the backyard garden. Zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and beans are in abundance, along with basil and many other delicious fresh herbs, vegetables and fruits. Once you have made your tenth zucchini bread and served tomatoes in a dozen different ways, NJ gardeners and their counterparts throughout the country now have an important resource available to them to help share their bounty.
AmpleHarvest.org is the brainchild of Gary Oppenheimer, himself a master gardener, who recognized that this seasonal bounty, grown by millions of home gardeners across the country, could help to ease the very serious needs we have today with an ever-growing number of people throughout the country who cannot afford to feed themselves and their families. Even if you are fortunate enough to get food from a local pantry or food bank, it is not likely that there will be fresh produce available. Using some creative mitzvah thinking, Gary developed the idea of creating a registry of all pantries and soup kitchens across the country. Home gardeners faced with more fresh produce than they could possibly use need only visit his site, find the nearest facility and drop off their excess produce. You can help not only by donating your excess crop but also by urging your local pantry or soup kitchen to visit http://ampleharvest.org so that they can register.
Gary recently sent us an email with the following thoughts. We think that they bear repeating here:
We are encouraging people to take a copy of http://AmpleHarvest.org/downloads/GardenShop.pdf to their local garden shop, nursery, lawn and garden section of their Lowe’s/Home Depot/Sears/Wal-Mart, hardware store, etc. to ask that the store manager post it by their cashiers or in another conspicuous location. People are also posting it on the public bulletin boards in their supermarket, library, house of worship, health club, etc. Anything you can do to help publicize this would be very helpful.
Although many people are concerned about their own economic situation, the AmpleHarvest.org campaign enables Americans to help their neighbors by reaching into their backyards instead of their back pockets.
The Good People Fund has offered Gary help with his all-volunteer effort and has agreed to spread the word to as many people as we can. Won’t you help too? Visit http://ampleharvest.org to read the entire story of this creative and very important effort to combat hunger in this country.