Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hunger Coalition gathers surplus fruit

Hope Garden hosts fundraising and fall harvest events


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

The gleaners, from left, are Hunger Coalition Program Director Naomi Spence, Education Manager Sharon Dohse and Resource Manager Kat Vanden Heuvel show off some of the first boxes of fruit donated to The Hunger Coalition’s fall gleaning project.
Express photos by Willy Cook

    The Hunger Coalition’s Hope Garden in Hailey is bursting with vegetables that will be stored and distributed to those in need of fresh produce through the coalition’s weekly mobile food bank. This year, the Hunger Coalition is also taking contributions from Blaine County fruit-tree owners through its fall gleaning project.
    Volunteers plan to gather surplus fruit from trees and orchards from Ketchum in the north to Gannett in the south.     
    “This age-old practice, known as gleaning, is the harvesting of excess produce that might otherwise go to waste,” said Hunger Coalition Program Director Naomi Spence. “We have 125 pound of fruit so far.”
    Spence said the coalition hopes to store up to 1,500 pounds of fruit in a root cellar at the Hunger Coalition base in Bellevue, stretching out the supply into the winter months, when fruit is scarcest.
    The Hunger Coalition is accepting commitments from fruit donors of estimated volumes of early-harvest large, hard, bug-free pears, apples, plums and apricots. The coalition is not accepting small baking apples, crabapples, cherries or berries.

Hunger Coalition volunteer Jose Ruiz gathers tomatoes at the Hope Garden in Hailey.

    People who are interested in participating, either as a fruit donor or volunteer gleaner, are encouraged to contact the coalition at 788-0121, or thehungercoalition.org.
    The stated mission statement of the Hunger Coalition is to: “strive to end hunger in our community by providing wholesome food to those in need.”
    The Hunger Coalition will host a “Wine in the Garden” donor party at the Hope Garden, located at the corner of South First Avenue and Walnut Street in Hailey, today, Aug. 29, at 6:30 pm.
    The event will honor the members of the Wood River Women’s Charitable Foundation, Little Black Dress Club, Papoose Club and The Rosies, all of which have dedicated either funding or time and work hours to the Hunger Coalition.
    “These women have allowed us to accomplish a tremendous amount of good work over the last several years,” wrote Executive Director Jeanne Liston in a news release.
    The third annual Harvest of Hope Celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 12, from 5-8 p.m. will wrap up the growing season, and thank the many contributors to the Hunger Coalition’s success.
    The free event will feature free live music, small tastes of freshly prepared food, cold beverages and kids’ activities.


Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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