Utahns Against Hunger is again asking home gardeners in Utah to "Grow a Row for the Hungry" for this season's Share the Harvest project. Donated garden fruits and vegetables will be distributed to people in need.
The food is distributed in most communities on certain Sundays, but in areas where mass distribution is not effective, the garden items help stock the shelves of local emergency food programs.This is the ninth year for the project. In 1982, Salt Lake area churches were asked to gather an "offering of food" during their Sunday morning services, and gardeners were encouraged to bring food to the office of Utahns Against Hunger. On that first Sunday and on each Sunday afternoon in September, volunteers provided food to more than 600 people.
It has grown into a huge event involving communities throughout Utah. Distributions were held in Ogden, Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Midvale, Provo and Richfield. Distribution sites are hosted by local churches and community groups and food is sacked and handed out by volunteers.
Food gathered in St. George, Price, Vernal and Moab is distributed through emergency pantries. In all communities, retail grocers and local bakeries supplement the produce with donated bread and baked goods.
According to director Steve Johnson, the project is even more important this year because of plans to reduce the monthly caseload in Utah's Women, Infants and Children supplemental food program. That cut is expected to place even more pressure on local emergency food pantries. Already, emergency food caseload is running 27 percent higher this year than last. In many rural communities, caseload growth is 70 percent or higher.
For information, call UAH at 328-2561 in the Salt Lake area, or toll-free 1-800-453-3663.