Feed the Poor

by Sally J.

My husband, Joe Mingle has been working tirelessly to get free, fresh local produce into hungry mouths where we live in Wisconsin. He grows a lot of donated food each season, but this year he wants to get donations from other farmers, too.

Below is an article about his efforts, and below that you’ll find a donations link. The needs for this project are so modest that even a tiny donation will make a very real difference.

Dane County Pantry Brigade helps bring fresh local produce to hungry kids
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July 08, 2014 7:30 am  • 

Many low-income kids could benefit from eating more fresh, healthy food, but many area food pantries aren’t able to quickly redirect produce, activist Joe Mingle says.

So Mingle started the Free Vegetables for School Children project, which uses volunteers to grow, harvest, prepare and deliver fresh produce to people, especially children, who might not otherwise get it. The project is part of the Dane County Pantry Brigade.

Tons of local produce goes to waste each growing season because there is no way to get it to the people who need it, Mingle says. The Pantry Brigade coordinates volunteers to direct it to needy families.

“It’s heartbreaking how much doesn’t get to the table – or even the compost heap,” Mingle says. “A lot of it isn’t even picked.”

The produce will then be cleaned, trimmed and packed at the Food Enterprise and Economic Development (FEED) Kitchens.

Washing, trimming and packaging the produce will make it more appetizing and more likely to be eaten.

While other aspects of the project are all-volunteer — “Nobody pays you to grow food and give it away to poor people,” Mingle quips — the nonprofit FEED kitchen requires a fee for use of its facility. Mingle is trying to raise money to finance use of the kitchen, at least a few hundred dollars, he says.

Byline: Pat Schneider

Pat Schneider joined The Capital Times in 1989 and has written on a wide variety of topics including neighborhoods, minority communities and the nonprofit sector.

CLICK HERE to make a donation to the Dane County Pantry Brigade via PayPal. No minimum donation required, and believe me, every single dollar helps. Thank you from our entire family and all the kids who will go home from their summer school program with free food this summer. -Sally J.