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Gardeners help poor through Plant a Row for the Hungry

As planting season is underway, the Plant a Row for the Hungry Campaign invites gardeners to add a row to their gardens and donate the vegetables from it to local food banks.

In 2005, Spokane County gardeners grew and donated more than 85,000 pounds of produce, enough for 340,000 meals.  In 2006, Plant a Row for the Hungry has set a goal of 130,000 pounds for 520,000 meals.

This year the campaign will also help food banks in Sandpoint.

Pat Munts, media coordinator for Plant a Row, said that the motivation for the project is that every year 36 million Americans go hungry.

“In the Inland Northwest, Second Harvest still sees an increase in requests for emergency food, despite reports of an improved economy,” she said.  “Half of the hungry are children.”

“Fresh fruits and vegetables are first on the list of food that clients of food banks want more of,” she said.  “People in low-income brackets have trouble finding affordable high-quality low-calorie foods such as vegetables.”

Ann Price, director of development and communication at Second Harvest Inland Northwest, said “The value of fresh produce—with home-grown being a piece of that—is its nutritional value.  It is among the most expensive items that low-income people buy at the store.  When home gardeners take it directly to a neighborhood food bank, clients can pick up spinach, broccoli or zucchini that can add to the nutritional value of their meals.”

The Veradale United Church of Christ spent $2,700 to bring water to a garden site by their church.  It produced 500 pounds the first year.  Growing the food also taught young people about helping the community and their neighbors.

“It planted a seed about helping our neighbors around the world,” said Linda Crowe, pastor.

Beverly Hawker and the Young Women’s Program of the 17th Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at Newman Lake grew corn and donated it to the Valley Food Bank.

The food raised in 2006 will go to 19 participating food banks.

Locally, Plant a Row is an initiative of the Inland Empire Gardeners.

Home gardeners may have a receipt so they can take a $1.50-per-pound tax deduction.

For information, call 534-6678.ext. 600 or visit www.2-harvest.org/2-harvest. As planting season is underway, the Plant a Row for the Hungry Campaign invites gardeners to add a row to their gardens and donate the vegetables from it to local food banks.

In 2005, Spokane County gardeners grew and donated more than 85,000 pounds of produce, enough for 340,000 meals.  In 2006, Plant a Row for the Hungry has set a goal of 130,000 pounds for 520,000 meals.

This year the campaign will also help food banks in Sandpoint.

Pat Munts, media coordinator for Plant a Row, said that the motivation for the project is that every year 36 million Americans go hungry.

“In the Inland Northwest, Second Harvest still sees an increase in requests for emergency food, despite reports of an improved economy,” she said.  “Half of the hungry are children.”

“Fresh fruits and vegetables are first on the list of food that clients of food banks want more of,” she said.  “People in low-income brackets have trouble finding affordable high-quality low-calorie foods such as vegetables.”

Ann Price, director of development and communication at Second Harvest Inland Northwest, said “The value of fresh produce—with home-grown being a piece of that—is its nutritional value.  It is among the most expensive items that low-income people buy at the store.  When home gardeners take it directly to a neighborhood food bank, clients can pick up spinach, broccoli or zucchini that can add to the nutritional value of their meals.”

The Veradale United Church of Christ spent $2,700 to bring water to a garden site by their church.  It produced 500 pounds the first year.  Growing the food also taught young people about helping the community and their neighbors.

“It planted a seed about helping our neighbors around the world,” said Linda Crowe, pastor.

Beverly Hawker and the Young Women’s Program of the 17th Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at Newman Lake grew corn and donated it to the Valley Food Bank and St. Vincent De Paul’s Food  Bank.

The food raised in 2006 will go to 19 participating food banks.

Locally, Plant a Row is an initiative of the Inland Empire Gardeners.

Home gardeners may have a receipt so they can take a $1.50-per-pound tax deduction.

For information, call 534-6678.ext. 600 or visit www.2-harvest.org/2-harvest.

By Mary Stamp, The Fig Tree - © June 2006