|Why is there a need for this project?
||According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 in 8 households in the United States experiences hunger or the risk of hunger. The demand for hunger assistance has increased by 70% in recent years. Statewide, 15.8% of Mainers (209,000 people) experience times when adequate, nutritional food is limited or uncertain. Moreover, of this population, 43% do not qualify for any government support and rely on charities to make ends meet when an unexpected expense arrives.
|What’s the goal of Maine Harvest for Hunger (MHH)?
||The goal of MHH is to get every home gardener to grow an extra row of vegetables or fruits and donate their surplus to a local food pantry or soup kitchen. If every gardener contributes, a significant impact can be made on reducing hunger.
|What can I do?
||You can grow and donate extra produce. This involves planting, harvesting, and cleaning extra vegetables and fruits. No matter the size of your garden, you can make a great contribution. Whatever you have in excess from your garden will be greatly appreciated by the local food pantries. Once your produce is ready, either take it to a food pantry or contact someone else who can deliver it for you. Additional ways that you can help include:
- Recruit other gardeners by phone, mail, or other media.
- Pick-up and donate produce to food pantries or drop-off points.
- Glean farmers’ fields and orchards after their harvest.
- Assist with the recruitment of farms/orchards as gleaning sites.
- Volunteer at a community garden.
|What foods are needed?
||Any fresh produce will be used; however, foods with good storage life are best. These “good keepers” might include beets, cabbage, carrots, turnips, and winter squash. Ones that will last about four days include cucumbers, tomatoes, summer squash, lettuce, spinach, and broccoli.
|How can a family receive food from this project?
||They can receive food from their local food pantry.
|How do I prepare food/produce for drop-off?
||Food/produce should be clean and dry — the way you’d expect to find it in the grocery store. Please don’t donate badly bruised, overgrown, or rotted food.
|Where and when do I donate produce from my garden?
||Once you enroll in the program, you will receive a list of donation sites. The list includes the days and times that donations are accepted, as well as the contact information for each site.
|Do I have to report everything that I give?
||Yes! We want to know what kind of impact this project has state-wide. If you don’t report, we’ll never know.
|How do I report my donations?
||Weigh (or estimate the weight) of donated produce. Report the total weight via receipt, FAX, email or telephone, as explained in the participant package you will receive.