Friday, April 17, 2009

Use your green thumb to provide food for families

Every year the food pantry shelves go bare in the summer time. Every year gardens are overflowing with vegetables the grower can’t eat, can or freeze. It’s a summer tradition to bring the abundant zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes to workplace break rooms, roadside stands or beg neighbors and family members to take the excess.

United Way has an idea for a way to use your green thumb to feed hungry residents in the Marshfield area this summer and fall. This spring when you plant your garden, plant an extra row of vegetables. Then, when it’s time to harvest, donate the fruits of your labor to our community pantries. Your efforts will put food on the table for families and provide them that building block to a good life they might not otherwise have had.

We don’t want to be over flowing with zucchini and tomatoes. Please follow the suggested guide below when planting.

If your birthday falls on an even date (example: April 14) plant: onions, leafy greens (such as lettuce or spinach), broccoli, carrots, melons, squash or zucchini.

If your birthday falls on an odd date (example: May 1) plant: peas, rhubarb, beans, beets, cucumbers, cauliflower, pumpkins or tomatoes.

So, as you harvest your garden, take the vegetables from your extra row to your local food pantry (for locations and hours, dial 2-1-1).

When the growing season is over, United Way will report back how much fresh food was donated and how many families were able to enjoy the results of the collective gardening community.

You can also help out by contributing your favorite recipes featuring the fresh fruits and vegetables. We will compile recipes, and provide to the food pantries to include as they distribute food. E-mail recipes to or mail to PO Box 771 Marshfield, WI 54449.

Don’t have the extra space to squeeze in one more row? Even if you donate a part of your harvest once a month it will decrease the burden the pantries are feeling.

So, think green and help United Way provide sustainable resources to help create opportunities for a good life for everyone. For more information, call 384-9992 or visit Give. Advocate. Volunteer. LIVE UNITED.

Stacey Oelrich, Marshfield Area United Way’s Communication Director can be reached at

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