Press-Republican

September 20, 2013

Food pantries welcome late-harvest produce

By JAVIER SIMON and SUZANNE MOORE, News Editor
Press-Republican

PLATTSBURGH — Fresh produce beefs up offerings at the Interfaith Food Shelf and other organizations that supply folks in need.

Nancy Hobbs wants to remind gardeners of that now that the harvest season is moving along.

“The squash, apples, potatoes — the late-season produce,” she listed off some produce that would be welcome at the Food Shelf at the Plattsburgh United Methodist Church.

Some locals think of food pantries when nature gives them more than they can use from their gardens, she said.

And this year, the new Plattsburgh Chapter of Plant a Row for the Hungry has brought in a good amount, said Hobbs, an Interfaith Food Shelf volunteer.

“It’s very helpful,” she said.

But the need remains.

“Our numbers keep increasing all the time,” Hobbs said. “Keep us in mind rather than letting the frost get (the crops). People really do enjoy the fresh produce.”

FRESH FOODS WELCOME

There are food pantries around the region that accept donations of garden produce; Plant a Row’s Plattsburgh chapter contributes to programs, including soup kitchens, in the Plattsburgh area.

Marsha Lawrence and United Methodist Women membership set up a plot in the Plattsburgh Community Garden specifically to grow food for the Plant a Row program.

“It’s a neat way to get food to the people who need it,” she said. 

People also can drop off fresh foods in a bin that Lawrence set up by her plot in the Community Garden. She delivers the contents to places such as the Interfaith Food Shelf once or twice a week.

PLANT MORE IN SPRING

Beth Dixon, a member of the Plattsburgh Community Garden Group, helped jump-start Plant a Row in Plattsburgh, a national campaign that promotes sharing fresh foods with those in need.

Dixon said about 900 pounds of food has been donated so far. 

She hopes more people will become aware of the program and contribute to it. She already has received support from various organizations, including Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Don’t forget about Plant a Row when garden time rolls around again next spring, Hobbs tells people, encouraging them to sow more seeds in order to share when harvest comes.

1 POUND, 4 MEALS

According to Find the Data.com, an online-research hub, 21 percent of Plattsburgh residents live below the poverty level and the unemployment rate is 8.6 percent.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, about one out of eight families in the United States experiences hunger or is at risk of hunger. 

According to the Garden Writers Association website, every pound of produce can provide four meals.

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SHARE THE BOUNTY

The Interfaith Food Shelf, located at Plattsburgh United Methodist Church, 127 Beekman St., is open 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday and, on Fridays, 9 a.m. to noon and 4 to 6 p.m. Produce can be dropped off there during those hours.

Also, garden fruits, herbs and veggies can be brought to the following locations for distribution by Plant a Row for the Hungry: JCEO Food Pantry, 39 Durkee St., 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; Salvation Army Soup Kitchen, 4804 S. Catherine St., 9 to 11 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; Clinton County Senior Center, 5139 N. Catherine St., 9 to 11 a.m. Thursdays; St. Joseph's Church, 1349 Military Turnpike, Treadwell Mills, 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays; and St. Peter's Church Soup Kitchen, 23 St. Charles St., behind Seton Academy, 2 to 3 p.m. Mondays.

Learn more about the Plattsburgh Community Garden and Plant a Row at: plattsburghcommunitygarden.org/Home.