Hellertown, PA. (October 26, 2018) – Plant a Row Lehigh Valley has concluded its third annual campaign to help home gardeners donate fruits, vegetables, and herbs to food-insecure families and individuals in Easton, Bethlehem, Allentown, and surrounding areas.
The latest data available from Second Harvest Food Bank shows that some 60,000 people in the Valley need food assistance every month. Plant a Row Lehigh Valley seeks to aid these food-insecure individuals and families by asking home gardeners to set aside one row of their gardens to donate. The program also accepted any overflow produce. Thanks to an increase of willing volunteers and interest, this year the program increased from fourteen to twenty-one donation collection points at stores, parks, and churches, where participants could drop off fruits and vegetables. Each week, volunteers transported donated produce from the collection points to food pantries and meal centers around the Valley.
The first donations were accepted on June 11th, 2018, and by the end of the growing season, 326 backyard gardeners had registered to participate and donated 6,009 pounds of fruits and vegetables, a stunning 20% increase over last year. These donations were split between fourteen different food assistance programs (up from five last year).
The program is a valuable asset for food assistance programs in the Valley. “We had such a great season with Plant A Row Lehigh Valley. Through our partnership we were able to serve 42 families totaling 157 people monthly. The generous donations of our Lehigh Valley gardeners make all the difference to the families we serve”, said Sandra Soliman, Director of Development and Communications at New Bethany Ministries. “It’s so inspiring to see backyard gardeners throughout the Lehigh Valley so excited and effective in helping their neighbors,” said Joseph Marlin, coordinator for Plant a Row Lehigh Valley.
Plant a Row Lehigh Valley is the local campaign of the national Plant a Row program, sponsored by Garden Writers Association. Since 1995, over 20 million pounds of produce providing over 80 million meals have been donated by American gardeners through this program. Since its launch in 2016, Plant a Row Lehigh Valley gardeners have donated 14,041 pounds of produce to the hungry.
The program is already planning its next year and is looking for volunteers. Anyone interested in participating or volunteering in the program next year can register on the website – plantarowlv.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.