FAQ | National Day of Service

What exactly is this service project all about?

Simply put, you will be helping to eliminate obesity, diabetes, hypertension, etc. in your community while also helping the environment. For good.

Nearly 50 million Americans struggled to feed their families, and many get food assistance from a local food pantry (may be called a food shelf, food cupboard, food closet or food bank in your part of the country). The food distributed at these food pantries is food processed with extra salt and sugar – both of which have long term health consequences. Healthy fresh food is nearly never available.

At the same time, nearly 40 million Americans grow food in home gardens – often more than they can use, and the rest of left to rot in the garden or thrown away.

AmpleHarvest.org connects the dots… enabling these growers to find a nearby food pantry eager for the excess. Then the grower can take the fresh food to the pantry everytime they harvest too much.

This service project is asking for your help to:

  • Help more food pantries in your community join AmpleHarvest.org (its free!) so they can get fresh food.
  • Help more gardeners learn about the oppotunity to donate fresh food from their garden
  • Help spread the word to the local media in your community.

Learn more about the problem and the solution by watching this TEDx video and this episode of PBS’s Growing A Greener World.

What is the committment? How much time will be asked of me?

While most other service projects call for you to be at a specific location at a certain time, this is a service project that you do on your own time and at your own pace.

A whole day this week, may be 2 hours a weekend for a month, whatever works best for you. If you are in a small town, it might only be an hour or so but if you are in a larger community, it the greater opportunity might end of taking longer… it is entirely up to you.

How do I find a food pantry?

Ask and look around. If your house of worship has one, that is certainly the first place to go. You may want to contact other houses of worship in your community, a YMCA or even the social service agencies in your town hall. Check online at Google, FoodPantries.org, etc.

You can also go to the Feeding America web site, enter your zip code and find the food bank that services your area. A food bank is different from a food pantry (see below) but you can ask the food bank for the name[s] of the food pantries in your area.

How do I find the growers?

More than 40 million people in America grow food in home gardens. We are not asking you to knock on peoples’ doors to ask if they are a gardener. Rather, we are asking that you go to the places in your community where growers are likely to visit and ask to post a flier there. These places may be a garden shop, hardware store, a community garden, etc. You can even ask to post the fliers on the bulletin board of a local house of worship, a supermarket, health club, library, etc.

Your job to help get the “word” out to the grower community about AmpleHarvest.org as part of our larger effort to educate, encourage and enable them to donate their excess garden produce to a local food pantry.

Are there any costs involved?

No. AmpleHarvest.org is totally free to both the food pantries and the growers.

Thank you for asking. Because AmpleHarvest.org is the only virtual solution to hunger, we rely on online donations and grants from foundations. We’d really appreciate a donation, large or small from you. It helps to pay for the staff, the technology and the other operating expenses any charity incurs. Take a look at our 2011 Annual Report (2012 report is still in construction). Tax deductible donations can be made at www.AmpleHarvest.org/donate.

How can I follow your work?

We are on Facebook and Twitter… please follow us there.

I still have a question... how do I contact you?

Email us at [email protected]

Do you tell me where to find pantries or growers?

No. That is what we’re counting on you to do. You know your own community better than anyone else. We are asking that you share what you know (or what you find) with AmpleHarvest.org by doing a bit of sleuthing to find a local food pantry yourself… and then urge them to register atAmpleHarvest.org.

Scheduling - when do I do this? Can I do it another time?

Although the “official” National Day of Service is January 19, you can actually do this service opportunity whenever you like… before the 19th, and time on that day or any day later. Because this is a virtual service opportunity, you are not constrained by anything except your own schedule and availability. Indeed, you can continue to do this for months to come. It is your call. AmpleHarvest.org is available when you are.

Do pantries takes food stuffs other than fresh produce?

Most will be happy to take food such as eggs or store bought items in addition to garden produce. Most will not take cooked or cut food however, and none will take expired processed food. Contact the food pantry in your community to see if they’ll accept what you want to donate.