EAU CLAIRE Wis. (WEAU)- With cooler temperatures in the air, area food pantries say now is the perfect time to donate extra fruits and veggies to those who need it most.
Local pantries say they are always looking for donations but now is a good time for people with small gardens to share their harvest.
Fall temperatures might be setting in but for growers at the community garden, harvest season is still in full swing.
The Eau Claire Community Garden Association says it usually donates 5,000 -10,000 pounds of fresh produce every year to area pantries.
“Some of those fall crops are things that are coming on right now and we haven't even harvested them,” community garden coordinator Andrew Werthmann said.
At the garden, crates of squash, tomatoes and potatoes are waiting to make the journey from plant to pantry, providing a healthy option to families who need it most.
“We've seen at the St. Francis Food Pantry when the food is there it goes instantly people really want to get their hands on it,” Werthmann said.
Its keeping shelves stocked with fresh produce that food pantry workers say can be a struggle.
“We have a high demand for fresh produce we have much larger demand than we have amount,” Trinity Lutheran Church Food Pantry Volunteer Debbie Gilbertson said.
Gilbertson says when a new donation of fruits and veggies comes in it doesn’t last long.
“We accept anything that is harvested from tomatoes, to potatoes, to squash and carrots. Anything that they would have extra of it will not go unused here,” Gilbertson explained.
The pantry says between their 800 plus clients, every donation counts and that’s what the Community Garden Coordinator says makes their work so rewarding.
“It’s just as simple as getting it into crates and bringing it to the Community Table and they take care of it or to the food pantry,” Werthmann said.
The Feed My People Food Bank and the local church pantries say they accept donations throughout the week. For more information on when and where to donate, follow the links below.