Consider donating extra produce to food shelf

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).

As more and more vegetables ripen in gardens around the area, some growers become overwhelmed with the amount of produce. If you have more than you can eat or preserve, consider donating it to the Clayton County Food Shelf.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

As more and more vegetables ripen in gardens around the area, some growers become overwhelmed with the amount of produce and are unable to eat or preserve it fast enough. If you’re in this boat, consider donating to the Clayton County Food Shelf.

“I started pushing for more [produce] five to six years ago,” said Clayton County Food Shelf Director Utoni Ruff. “Donations go up every year.”

Ruff said zucchini, green beans and cucumbers are especially popular this time of year. In fact, she arrived to work Friday morning to find a large box of cucumbers at the door.

“Soon, there will be tomatoes. Then you can’t forget about fall,” she said, noting that autumn favorites like apples and squash are also valuable items.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are often luxuries for local residents, Ruff said, because financial assistance is largely eaten up through the purchase of staple foods like bread, milk and meat.

Ruff recalled a recent donation of nine cases of grapes. Although not grown locally, she said, “The families were so happy to see those.”

She said fresh produce only can be donated; it cannot be canned.

“It can be washed,” Ruff remarked, “but we want it right out of the garden.”

Ruff said, if produce is brought in refrigerated, she also has to refrigerate it. While the food shelf has some refrigerator space, she recommended the produce be brought in unrefrigerated, as storage is easier and the items tend to last longer.

Even though obtaining fresh produce is one of the major goals of the food shelf this time of year, Ruff said she also works to provide for the area’s homeless families.

“This is the time of year when homeless families pick up considerably,” she noted. “They’ve been living with family members locally through the winter, then, in the summer, they camp out in the area.”

Without adequate options to refrigerate or cook food, Ruff said these families rely on items like bottled water, bread, peanut butter and jelly, and fruit and pudding cups.

“We’ve had coolers and ice packs donated,” she said. “If they have a way to cook it, I send meat. I send milk, but they have to drink it right away.”

For those interested in donating, the Clayton County Food Shelf, located in Saint Olaf, is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. 

Rate this article: 
No votes yet