LINCOLN, Neb. — For the fourth consecutive year, Nebraska Extension’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) has awarded funding to 10 communities across the state through its Growing Together Nebraska program. Over $27,000 has been designated to support the effort.
Growing Together Nebraska, formerly known as Cultivating Health Our Way (CHOW), is a multistate SNAP-Ed project to increase access to fruits and vegetables in food pantries.
The donation garden projects in Cheyenne, Dakota, Dodge, Hall, Kimball-Banner, Lancaster, Lincoln, Madison, Platte and Scotts Bluff counties connect local Extension staff, active Master Gardeners and local community organizations with the goal of increasing food security and access to fresh, local produce for those families and individuals who are food insecure.
Peachis Mason, service coordinator at Hope Harbor, Inc. in Grand Island has numerous stories of children or others excited to get a watermelon or fresh produce.
“At Hope Harbor, we give out food boxes, where families can receive a box once every three months. I have had families tell me they wait to come in to get their food boxes so they can have fresh produce from the donation garden,” Mason said.
Since 2016, Growing Together Nebraska donation garden projects have donated close to 52,000 pounds of fresh produce to local food pantries, shelters, senior centers, faith-based community organizations, community health centers, after-school programs and summer feeding programs.
Nebraska Extension Educators Natalie Sehi with SNAP-Ed and Terri James, statewide coordinator for the Extension Master Gardener Program, will be working with the donation garden project leaders from across the state to capture produce and volunteer donation efforts, in hopes of surpassing last year’s donations of 31,000 pounds to food insecure individuals and families.
To learn more about the donation garden projects, contact Sehi at firstname.lastname@example.org.