"Seeds for Growth" Helping Local Food Shelf

By Staci DaSilva | sdasilva@nexstar.tv

Published 08/22 2014 05:34PM

Updated 08/28 2014 07:05PM


Late August is a tough time for any food shelf. Donations come in slow. The Northwest Family Foods food shelf in Saint Albans is not immune.

Dorothy Leahy started using Northwest Family Foods a few years ago.

“I can get along but it helps me toward the end of the month especially. This month it was just a little bit slow for me,” said Leahy.

The end of the month is a busy time for any food shelf. And right now, it's coinciding with a low donation period.

“Summer is a hard time for food shelves,” said Robert Ostermeyer, Director of Northwest Family Foods.

Ostermeyer says people just don't donate as much in the summer.

“We find ourselves in the end of August, where we always are in the end of August, beginning to wonder how we're going to make it through the next 6 weeks or so,” said Ostermeyer.

So, the food shelf is trying to find ways to replenish the supply even when donations are slow.

Andrew Judge is doing his part to help out. He founded "Seeds for Growth," a group formed to supply fresh produce to the food shelf.

Judge practices something called “gleaning” or using food that would otherwise be thrown away from local restaurants. He picks up compost from local restaurants. And now, while he’s there, he’s been picking up unused foods and donating them to the food shelf.

This spring, Seeds for Growth started a new program involving 200 donated seed packets from the St. Albans Co-op.

“Over 30 gardeners and organizations came down to receive their seeds and to sign a pledge that would give 1/3 back to the food shelf and we've started to see some of it,” said Judge.

Gardeners helping others, now comes full circle.

“We can create a surplus for people in need,” said Judge. “And not only that but some of the people who are gardeners are also clients of the food shelf."

The next Seeds For Growth project is to bring the mission to high schools.

The group will be providing seeds to the schools with the same purpose: bringing the resulting produce back to the food shelf.

And, of course, never hesitate to donate.

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