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Feed Families in Appalachian Ohio

by Community Food Initiatives
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Feed Families in Appalachian Ohio
Feed Families in Appalachian Ohio
Feed Families in Appalachian Ohio
Feed Families in Appalachian Ohio
Feed Families in Appalachian Ohio
Feed Families in Appalachian Ohio
Feed Families in Appalachian Ohio
Feed Families in Appalachian Ohio
Feed Families in Appalachian Ohio
Feed Families in Appalachian Ohio
Feed Families in Appalachian Ohio
Feed Families in Appalachian Ohio
Feed Families in Appalachian Ohio
Feed Families in Appalachian Ohio
Feed Families in Appalachian Ohio

What a few months it has been. We have been blessed to see the good, the bad, and the ugly bring out the best in people over the last few months. In March 2020, you have seen the coronavirus pandemic start to change our daily life: children were sent home from school indefinately, restaurants were closing, people were losing jobs left and right. Those who were already affected by widespread poverty as we do here in Appalachian Ohio were having a harder time struggling to make ends meet.

However, within every crisis, there are also great community effort to come together to help those who need it most. Here at CFI we have been blessed enough to see the results of those efforts. Not only have been able to increase the amount of local produce we purchase weekly, but we also have been able to work with local businesses to purchase extra goods to distribute to food pantries as their needs grow. Since March, we've shared almost three tons of local food, which translates to 4800 local meals.

Thank you so much for your continued support to allow us to grow and share the harvest with others, especially in this time when it is most needed.

No contact pick up at ACEnet.
No contact pick up at ACEnet.
Attending the weekly farmer's market in Athens
Attending the weekly farmer's market in Athens
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We just want to take a minute to thank each and every donor to Donation Station this past year. Over the past year, we have mobilized over 62,000 pounds of local food to be distributed to low socioeconomic individuals via our local food pantries. In the past month, we have been fortunate to have multiple donations by local businesses during the holiday season. For example, Milo's donated more than 4,000 pounds of locally made sauces. The sauces has a retail value of over $8,000. Furthermore, we are getting ready to launch our Donation Station expansion as a mobile market. We are hoping to begin operations by late Spring 2020. Stay tuned for more developments in the New Year.

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What a great summer it has been so far this year at Community Food Initiatives! We are in the heart of our busy season here at the end of August, and we are excited to share the updates on how we are feeding families in Athens County and Southeast Ohio.

Donation Station is having a great growing season so far! Donation Station has distributed over 31,000 pounds so far this year and has invested $5,800 in the local food economy by purchasing directly from farmers. Furthermore, we have received over $12,000 in in-kind produce donations from various sources, and we have had commitments from various organizations that will support buying fresh produce throughout the fall and winter seasons.

Thank you so much for your continued support!

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Summer squash and other produce on the CPA floor
Summer squash and other produce on the CPA floor

The Donation Station at Community Food Initiatives in Athens, OH, is in the midst of yet another busy season! We’re at our local farmers market every Wednesday and Saturday, and at a local produce auction every Monday and Thursday, which means that we’re spending the majority of our time out gathering produce to distribute to people in need. Just last week we received nearly 2,000 pounds of produce at the produce auction alone, enabling us to distribute more than a ton of fresh, local, food to pantries and other organizations working to fight food insecurity in southeastern Ohio.

While we love to highlight our wonderful staff and volunteers, during the summer, we are especially grateful for the abundance of local produce that goes through our hands. During this time of peak produce we distribute twice weekly, and we have some special pickups during the week for programs like the Athens County Children Services (ACCS) PB&J Project, which helps provide meals to children in need when school is out of session. ACCS staff member Diane Stock comes to the Donation Station to add produce to the peanut butter and jelly supplies they already distribute: “To have fruit and vegetables to go with that [the PB&J] makes us feel like we’re providing more whole nutrition to children and families.”

Throughout the growing and harvest season, we provide a variety of produce based on what is seasonally available. But, if there is one crop that is a staple for us this time of the year, it’s summer squash. We often have plenty of this easy-to-use, familiar, and versatile yellow veggie to distribute each week. The produce we provide to ACCS and other partners most often starts at the stalls of the Athens Farmers Market or on the floor of the Chesterhill Produce Auction (CPA), like these summer squash.

We purchase bulk lots of produce at the Morgan County-based CPA every Monday and Thursday afternoon. After these squash were purchased last Monday, our staff weighed them in to track how much we distribute and transported them to a large cooler space at our offices in Athens. This squash was set aside for the special pickup by ACCS on Wednesday afternoon, so it was repacked in their coolers that afternoon before going out to families in need in our area!

This example of the Donation Station in action is just one small way your donations positively impact food access in our area. Providing healthy, local produce to supplement non-perishable items typically available in food pantries, we can build healthier communities! As Diane said, “Families get excited and line up because we have a limited supply of produce to go with what we are able to provide. The fact that we get this [the produce] at no cost is the only way we can provide this service to the community. We wouldn’t have the funding otherwise.”

You can help us increase our buying power at the CPA and be able to provide increasing amounts of produce to our community partners by making a donation today. We distribute around 1,000 pounds of produce each month just to the PB&J project. We are on our way to hitting our target of 100,000 pounds distributed in 2019, and your donations during this busy time of year will help ensure we get there!

Produce is stored in our cooler until distribution
Produce is stored in our cooler until distribution
Transferred to ACCS coolers & ready for families
Transferred to ACCS coolers & ready for families
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A lot is happening at CFI!  It's because of our community of support that we're able to do what we do, so THANK YOU!  We'd like to share with you about two big initiatives. 

POTATO GIVEAWAY 

On Friday, March 22, CFI hosted its annual seed potato giveaway, distributing nearly 30,000 pounds of seed potatoes to individuals and organizations throughout the region.  Given an average of 8 pounds of potatoes produced from every pound of seed potatoes, this event enabled future provision of 240,000 pounds of food.  How amazing!  With the generous contribution of time and energy from businesses, partner organizations, and individuals, we were able to get all of these taters to families throughout Appalachia. 

DISCOVERY KITCHEN WORKSHOPS AT OHIO UNIVERSITY

The Discovery Kitchen events that CFI has been hosting at OU have been a huge success!  These free workshops are part of the Initiative for Appalachian Food and Culture, and help drive the demand for local food on campus through hands-on experience preparing recipes that highlight seasonal, regionally-grown food.  OU and Athens community members make and share a meal together while learning about food access and the importance of a sustainable, thriving, and equitable local food system. 

The workshops are led by COMCorps member Sierra Faris and Discovery Kitchen Intern Jackie Stevens with the help of Tom Stevenson, Visiting Assistant Professor for the Restaurant, Hotel and Tourism program.  Recipes have featured winter squash, kale, and other produce available during these non-peak production months.  Additionally, we have been fortunate to partner with the Patton College of Education in the use of their McCracken Hall kitchen.   

This is what Stevens (DK Intern) has to say about the project: 

The goal of Discovery Kitchen is to provide OU students and Athens community members with knowledge about food accessibility and local produce. The workshops are hands on. The community members get hands on experience cooking the meals! 

We always incorporate local fresh ingredients from the farmers market into the recipes. In the past we have used kale and sweet potatoes, which come in all funky shapes and sizes. Some potatoes are the size of a small dog! 

Those who attend step away with a new found confidence in the kitchen. One of our repeat attendees, Sharon, told us that “I had never used kale before, to be honest it intimidated me. But after working with it during Discovery Kitchen I cook with it all the time. It's so delicious.” 

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Working directly with community members as a grassroots organization, we see the need that exists in this region first-hand.  It's so inspiring to witness and experience the incredible support that's out there for organizations working for positive change!  Thank you for your continued support as we move forward in our mission
 
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Organization Information

Community Food Initiatives

Project Leader:
Paige Klunk
Athens, OH United States
$22,915 raised of $27,000 goal
 
379 donations
$4,085 to go
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