PROLOGUE: It’s back-to-school time and summer is winding down, but Farmer’s Markets are still in full swing. Since September is Hunger Action Month, it’s a great time to tell you about how my daughter Sarah and I help feed those in need by picking up fresh produce donations from our local farmer’s market. And it’s a great opportunity for Sarah to write a guest post!

 

SARAH: People struggle with hunger everywhere—across the world, across the country, across the street. Even in well-off cities and suburbs, like the one that my family lives in. Whether they visit food pantries, are on food stamps, or go to soup kitchens, families all over are battling with hunger.

Kids are often the main victims when hunger strikes. When my mom was a little girl, money was very tight and they were on food stamps. Children especially need good nutrition since they are still growing and developing. Food is not just important for being physically healthy; it helps your brain be healthy as well. Studies show that kids who eat breakfast do better in school!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mom and I have been volunteering at our church for five years now. Every year, from the end of spring into the fall, we pick up food donations from two Michigan farmers, Kevin Klug and Karen Froehlich. On Saturdays, they come to our town’s local French Market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the market is closing up, we stop by to pick up the fruits and veggies that won’t make it to the next venue. Then, we take them to the church and put them in the fridge for the food pantry. We get everything from bushels of beans to boxes of berries. Sometimes my mom also provides recipes and tips for healthy ways to use the food. All of it is delicious and healthy—and helps feed hungry people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Not only does picking up the food for the food pantry help serve the community, it’s a great bonding experience for me and my mom. With school, work, and my little brother taking up lots of our time, it’s not easy to get some good mother/daughter time. Sometimes we’ll arrive early to look at the other stands in the market, or get some fresh produce of our own to enjoy at home. We’ve even bought pretty jewelry!

 

Volunteering is more to me than just building a better relationship, though. It’s about serving my community and the families in it. Not everyone has an opportunity to get fresh fruits and vegetables like what the Klugs, Froehlichs, and other local farmers provide. You too can get involved with different organizations like Feeding America or Feed My Starving Children. My church group has volunteered at Feed My Starving Children to prepare, label, and pack up the food for starving kids in developing countries. It’s a great way to not only help others, but have fun, too. My mom and I also donated to the Great American Milk Drive because 95% of food banks don’t receive enough milk to give to families – check out this infographic about the milk gap. Also, please watch this video and consider donating like we did – it will go directly to a family in your own community!
Thank you for listening to my story and stay tuned for part 2 when I interview my mom and my grandma about what it was like for them when they were on food stamps when my mom was a little girl.

EPILOGUE: Sarah, thank you for devoting so much time and energy to the farmer’s market pick ups and writing this guest post. I enjoy this special time with you, I love you and I’m so proud of you!
I also want to acknowledge all of the wonderful people who work as a team to make the food pantry a success! The produce pick ups that Sarah and I do are just one small part of the entire process. There are at least seven other people who help with the weekly pick ups and there are many other important steps including taking special care to keep the produce as fresh as possible and coordinating all of the other pantry foods that are distributed to participants each week. It truly takes a village!

If you liked this post, check out my other Food for Thought posts and my podcast A Grain of Salt: A Closer Look at Nutrition News with co-host Rachel Begun.

9 Comments

  1. Jen on September 23, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Sarah and Melissa,
    As I read your post, it is easy to see what an impact a mom can have on her kids. I am inspired to do something like this with my daughter because of both of you! Sarah, your generous spirit is going to be a huge gift throughout your life and I have no doubt you learned that from your mom!

    All I can say is wow, keep up the great work! And I will be sharing this with my daughter!

    Jen

  2. admin on September 23, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Thank you, Jen! We have really enjoyed doing this – I’m actually surprised it has been five whole years because it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. But we are just a small part of the team who also picks up donations and runs the food pantry out of our church. It really does take a village!
    Melissa

  3. Melinda Hemmelgarn on September 25, 2014 at 2:57 am

    I love this story! Isn’t it great to have kids to join with us on our nutrition missions? I look forward to seeing you at FNCE.
    Melinda

  4. admin on September 25, 2014 at 3:33 am

    Thank you, Melinda! Yes, it makes everything that much more worthwhile! I look forward to seeing you as well!
    Melissa

  5. Lisa McCann on September 26, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Awesome story Sarah! Nice to get a youth perspective on hunger! Keep up the good work to help others out!

  6. admin on September 27, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Thank you, Lisa!

  7. Lisa Doherty on September 29, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    Congratulations, Sarah! I enjoyed your blog post and applaud your kind and generous spirit in giving back to your community.

  8. Ellen Binder on October 1, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Sarah ~ what a fantastic post and an amazing thing you are doing! As part of the food pantry team, I see the appreciative looks on the faces of the clients as they see what wonderful things you brought them. Thanks so much for emphasizing the importance of feeding the hungry and for providing nutritious foods for our neighbors.

    • admin on October 1, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      Thank you, Ellen – and thank you for being our fearless leader! You do such a wonderful job coordinating everything and you are a joy to work with!
      Melissa

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