Summer has officially begun! We picked up our first on-farm donation of the season from Harmony Valley Farm. Harmony Valley continues to support Community Hunger Solutions with weekly donations during harvest season and donations of storage veggies throughout fall and winter. This donation included some twisted but perfectly preserved carrots from last fall's harvest. And I love the weekly drive to the farm - such a beautiful commute even on dull, rainy or wintry days! To support this on farm donation pick up, click the donation button at the top of this page. These donations go towards the cost of fuel to pick up and deliver fresh produce as well as other operating costs.
Volunteers have really come through in a big way this week - I sent out requests for delivery drivers and distribution help and have gotten people to fill all the positions. Thanks to generous community support, CHS will begin distribution as far as Hillsboro, Boscobel, and Wilton! I can't describe how much joy I feel to be able to offer resources to pantries that were previously out of our reach.
I operated the first Friday distribution on my own yesterday but have volunteers lined up to start helping next week. CHS distributed about 20 Farms to Families boxes, and I expect patronage to pick up as word gets out about this new resource. My goal this week is to get the notice posted in Spanish and Hmong so that we are no longer excluding people based on a language barrier.
Finally, thanks to a comment on Facebook, I've begun early planning for a solution to transportation issues for rural poor. The person who commented on our Facebook post is having boxes delivered to their home (not too difficult as they live nearby). This comment caused me to really start to consider the issue, though, and I'm brainstorming ideas for building a robust network of ride-sharing/essential delivery drivers. This idea is just in the planning stages now, but I'll share updates as they occur. If you're interested in being on the planning committee, please email me directly - firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, as promised, our first ever Featured Pantry!
Readstown Renegade Food Distribution Project
Barry Dalberg of Readstown operates one of the most unique hunger relief efforts I've encountered during my work with Community Hunger Solutions. Barry lovingly refers to her efforts as "the renegade food pantry".
The Readstown Pantry closed in 2017 due to a lack of community support. Instead of going back to life as usual, Barry, then a pantry volunteer, decided to continue distribution by any means necessary. She does this work through close bonds within her community. Barry is not afraid to reach out to folks who may be in need of food assistance, individuals and businesses who may have excess food resources, and - Barry is quick to point out - people often fall into both categories.
"No one is worthless. Everyone has something to offer their community. Whether it's a bumper crop from a backyard garden, help with childcare, or experience and information, everyone can be a value to someone else if we only treat them with respect and listen."
Barry's network not only provides food resources, but information, ride sharing, and a lot more! One individual, newly poor, was having a really hard time navigating the State and Federal application process for so-called "entitlement" programs. Anyone who has experienced this process before can tell you how difficult it is to apply for food, housing, childcare, and other forms of assistance. Almost every service has its own application process and few of the applications are the same. Barry was able to connect this "nouveau poor" family with "old poor" - someone familiar with the system that could help them navigate the webs of the system to gain access to the relief they needed.
The work that Barry Dalberg is doing in her community is incredible! She's genuinely selfless, caring, and operates with the firm belief that dignity is the right of every single human being. Community Hunger Solutions is proud to support the work she does and takes a lot of inspiration from her process. Barry makes weekly pick ups from the Food Enterprise Center of dairy, produce, and other resources as available through CHS and other food businesses in the building. I am very grateful for her help in getting local produce and dairy to residents who lack access!
If you are in the Readstown area and in need of assistance or have something to offer, you can contact Barry at 608-6zero4-8503.
Thank you for your continuing support of Community Hunger Solutions! Have a lovely week!