Gardeners everywhere can help feed hungry Kansans. The Kansas Food Bank and the Sedgwick County Extension Office are asking for your help to put fresh produce on dinner tables. The Plant a Row for Hunger program was a national idea that went local 12 years ago.
“I think it's a good cause,” said Ray Holt, a member of the Sedgwick County Extension Office’s Master Gardeners program.
The idea is to put fresh fruits and vegetables on tables that might not otherwise see them.
“This is maybe the product that may be too expensive for them to purchase,” said Kevin Enz with the Kansas Food Bank, “and this is just a great way to get it to that table.”
The program relies on the generous donations of gardeners across the state.
“Turnips and tomatoes, just anything we have an excess of,” said Holt.
“One hundred twenty pounds of corn, anonymous donor, we've seen this gentleman about three or four times,” said Enz of a donation made on Monday.
Holt said a year or two ago, “We took almost a ton of turnips up to the Kansas Food Bank.”
Big or small, these donations can make a big difference in the lives of Kansans.
“I mean you have your basic pyramid of food. Well, this is part of the pyramid that's been missing out on a lot of diets,” said Enz.
“If you don't eat vegetables, you're just out of luck,” added Holt.
Sometimes, however, the weather gets in the way. Last year's scorching summer and this year's recent heatwave both took their toll on donations.
“They just kind of burned up,” said Holt.
Enz added,”The success is all about Mother Nature, for the most part, and people participating.”
So, whether you end up with too many tomatoes, popcorn that popped up too fast to handle, or an overabundance of okra you just can't eat, now you know what you can do with all that extra and help somebody else out at the same time.
You can take fresh produce directly to the Kansas Food Bank, 1919 E. Douglas Ave, in downtown Wichita. You can also drop off donations at the Brady Nursery, 11200 W. Kellogg, Johnson’s Garden Centers, 802 North Ridge Rd, 21st and Woodlawn and 2707 West 13th, and the Valley Feed & Seed at 1903 S. Meridian.
Even if you don't have a garden you can still help. Every year KWCH partners with the Kansas Food Bank for the Food 4 Kids program. We're about to kick off that campaign later this month.
Food 4 Kids helps give children who need it a backpack-full of food for the weekend during the school year. These children often times only eat at school and go hungry on the weekends. Expect more details on the program later this month.