Though it’s not the traditional season of giving, food banks across the state are in need, and local gardeners could be part of the answer. According to the Utah Food Bank’s Heidi Cannella, demand for food is actually at its highest in the summer.
“We have our summer business food drive in the summer because kids are out of school without access to school meal programs, but donations are at their lowest,” said Cannella. “It’s actually a very critical time for us.”
Traditional canned food drives are still the norm, but food pantries across the state do accept fresh fruit and vegetables from local growers who are finding themselves with too much produce, or are just in the giving spirit.
Cannella said the Food Bank, which ships statewide, suggests donating locally so the food stays fresh.
Where to donate depends on how often the pantry delivers. Sister Germaine, executive director for the Center of Hope Food Pantry, said her program’s schedule doesn’t always work well with providing fresh produce.
“We receive fresh produce very rarely. One of the reasons is that we are only open one day a month and we only deliver one day a month,” Germaine said. “If we don’t get the fresh produce just before the delivery, we have no means of storing and keeping it for the next month.”