Community

Food Bank asks community to grow ‘Giving Gardens’

Marysville Community Food Bank volunteer JoAnn Sewell holds up a cross between a broccoli and a cauliflower, that the food bank received as a donation.   - Kirk Boxleitner
Marysville Community Food Bank volunteer JoAnn Sewell holds up a cross between a broccoli and a cauliflower, that the food bank received as a donation.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — The Marysville Community Food Bank has seen a significant boost in its fresh produce donations, through its “Giving Gardens” campaign, but Marysville Community Food Bank Director Joyce Zeigen explained that while she’s grateful for what they’ve received so far, it’s barely keeping up with demand.

The Food Bank has received more than 2,000 pounds of fresh produce this summer from local gardens and fruit trees, but Zeigen said that the Food Bank distributes nearly this much produce every week to hungry families in Marysville so more fruit and vegetables are still needed.

Zeigen credited the success of the Food Bank’s “Giving Gardens” to the generosity of the Marysville Bethlehem Lutheran Church pea patch, the Washington State University Master Gardeners, the Marysville-Pilchuck High School students at the Sunnyside Nursery, John Campbell of Olympic View Gardens, and a number of individual donors. She also cited the giveaways of an estimated 1,000 seed packets at Jennings Park in April, as well as the distribution of promotional fliers in May, asking the community to plant more fruits and vegetables than they would need so that their surpluses could be donated to the Food Bank. The June 6 Marysville Healthy Communities Challenge Day likewise served as an excellent educational opportunity for “Giving Gardens,” according to Zeigen.

Zeigen called for donations of extra squash, tomatoes, carrots, spinach, radishes, cucumbers, corn, beans, plums, apples and other fresh produce, as well as for volunteers willing to glean from local fruit trees when those trees’ owners are unable to pick the fruit themselves and don’t want it going to waste. She noted that the Food Bank’s demand increased by 15 percent last fall, at the same time as the onset of the current economic downturn and added that the Food Bank’s customer base has held relatively steady since then, at approximately 1,000 families served per month.

“It was closer to 1,200 families last month,” Zeigen said. “Each week we get about 20 new families, although last week we got 55 new families. Miraculously, our total number of customers hasn’t jumped since other families stop coming, a number of them because they’ve obtained new jobs.”

Zeigen pointed out that loose lettuce can be a bit harder to give away because it wilts more quickly, but she emphasized that even food which doesn’t go to their customers is still put to good use by being sent to farmers to feed their livestock. She encouraged families to get their children involved in planting fruits and vegetables to teach them about both plants and helping out others, and she praised the city and citizens of Marysville for the support that they’ve shown the Food Bank.

To learn more about donating to, or volunteering at, the Food Bank, you can call them at 360-658-1054, or e-mail them at marysvillefoodbank@clearwire.net. The Food Bank’s donation hours are Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursday through Saturdays, from 8-11 a.m., and on Tuesdays again, from 2-6 p.m.

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