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San Luis Obispo County, CA Non-Profits in Need of Fresh Produce

Are you a San Luis Obispo County gardener with an overabundance of fresh fruit or vegetables? These food banks and shelters are in desperate need of assistance. Please take some of your backyard bounty to these locations.

Bryan Brown at the Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter says, “We could definitely use help as we have a very thin budget for our food. We will gladly accept food from gardeners if allowed an opportunity to visit the garden site. Meat has become very limited for us so this is an item we are interested in (assuming it goes through a local butcher).”


Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter

Kitchen Address:  230 Leeward Avenue, Pismo Beach (volunteers cook out of the Veterans Hall kitchen)

Please call or email at least one day in advance to arrange drop off. Best time to receive is between 11 am and 1 pm, but other arrangements can be made.  bbrown@capslo.org

Gardeners should make arrangements to let managers visit and assess the gardens or orchards first.

Items they would love to receive: ALL vegetables, especially potatoes, winter squash, corn, and all salad fixin’s.  Fruit–oranges, blueberries, melon, plums.

Lewis County, WA Non-Profits in Need of Fresh Produce

Are you a Lewis County gardener with an overabundance of fresh fruit or vegetables? These food banks and shelters are in desperate need of assistance. Please take some of your backyard bounty to these locations.

Fay Teman, executive director of Lewis County Gospel Mission, says, “As our table ministry serves two meals a day, Monday through Friday, and a brunch on both Saturday and Sunday, we are quite happy to accept donations of fresh produce and eggs!” Fay says the mission has a need for fresh produce for salads, fresh fruit, potatoes and onions.




Lewis County Gospel Mission

Kitchen Address:  72 SW Chehalis Ave., Chehalis

Please call or email to arrange drop off between 7 am and 3 pm.  lighthouselcgm@gmail.com


The Mission is in particular need of produce for salads, fresh fruit, potatoes and onions.

Tenino Food Bank




Heritage House Food Bank

Kitchen address:  Heritage Baptist Church, 1315 Sussex Avenue East, Tenino Wa, 89589 Contact Food Bank Coordinator Kathy Lester at kelester@scattercreek.com.

Our Food Bank is open to recipients every Saturday from 2:00pm to 5:00pm.   Therefore, we generally coordinate to receive our food bank items on Fridays in the afternoon. This way we can ensure that the items we receive remain as fresh as we can get for Saturday.

Pastor Scott Peace says the food bank would love to receive any fresh fruits and vegetables. But he adds that the bank has special needs for Thanksgiving and Christmas. “Financially for families, this is the hardest time of the year; we try to offset that by providing additional grocery needs.”

Coming Soon
National Foodcycle Week April 2016!

Garden vegNational Foodcycle Week is an awareness program that encourages home gardeners and orchard owners to plant a row for the hungry, or dedicate space in their garden or orchard for growing fresh produce for local food banks. Our spring 2016 event will span the dates of April 20-26 and will focus on garden planning, planting, and hosting awareness events. We also encourage spring harvesters—lambs, anyone?—to donate to their local shelters.

The fall event, held on October 20-26 every year, has a harvest theme.

We’ll be inviting and thanking participants on our new Facebook group page. Come join our group discussion and tell us how you plan to donate this year!

There are several ways that you can participate.

  • commit to “grow a row” for the hungry
  • commit a berry patch, tree or orchard
  • offer to print and distribute awareness flyers
  • host an awareness event in your town or neighborhood

Find out how to host an event.

Please let us know how you plan to support hunger outreach this spring!

Sample Foodcycle Letter to Non-Profits

Happy Volunteer

To initially search for hunger non-profits in your area, try using search terms like food bank, homeless shelter, women’s shelter, soup kitchen, and table ministry. Keep in mind that large food banks probably receive truckloads of fresh produce from large distributors like Feeding America. But smaller non-profits like shelters and table ministries often have a huge need for fresh produce, eggs and meat!

You can call or email, but non-profits are by their very nature, busy folks. They’re out there in the world actually doing good works–which means it can be very hard to speak to a decision maker by phone. Also, National Foodcycle Week is a new concept, and who likes to have a new idea plopped in their lap and then asked for a yes/no answer?

Happy KidFor those reasons, when communicating with non-profits, I find it faster, easier, and more organized to send an email explaining National Foodcycle Week, and listing the questions that will help us feature them and bring in the donations they really want or need.

Tip: If you cc: yourself on every email and then store the copies in a folder, you’ll have a record of everyone you contacted.

Here’s a template letter that you can use to send to food banks, pantries, churches, kitchens and shelters. Feel free to introduce yourself in the letter and customize it however you like.


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How to Host a Foodcycle Event in Your Town

Would you like to host a Foodcycle Week or Event in your home town? It’s really very easy!

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Five Steps to Start Your Own Foodcycle Week
  1. Contact us and we’ll supply you with a four-color flyer that you can customize to include the name(s) of the non-profit(s) that you’d like to support.
  2. Prepare a list of your local food banks, soup kitchens and shelters. Search online and just cut-and-paste the search engine results into a word processing document.
  3. Call through the list and ask each non-profit the questions listed below.
  4. Now just customize the flyer to include the name, address, phone number and website of each non-profit. Share the flyer with your friends, neighbors, school parents, coworkers, and church.
  5. Share your plans on Facebook, Twitter and other social media!
Questions to Ask
  • Will you take donations of fresh produce from gardeners?
  • What is your level of need–occasional or urgent?
  • Do you have special needs at certain times of the year, like holidays?
  • Is there any particular type of vegetable or fruit you need?
  • Are there certain days and times that you are open to receive produce?
  • Would you like me to email you a flyer to share with your mailing list?
  • Who am I speaking with, and what’s your position?
Want to Go Big?

That’s really all there is to it, but if you want to really go big, here are some other ideas:

  • Ask vendors at your local farmer’s market to hand out printed flyers
  • Contact local garden clubs and ask them to email your flyer to their members (you can find local garden clubs on Facebook)
  • Ask your local garden centers and home supply stores to hand out printed flyers and share your flyer in their customer newsletters
  • Create a press release or write an article and send it to your local newspapers, radio stations and television anchors. If you don’t know how, contact me (mary@solid-communications.com) and I will send you a custom press release for free.

And please remember to take LOTS of photos! Share them on social media and send them to me. I’ll share them here on my blog and my social media!

Garden veg


The Healing Power of Food and Friends

In the aftermath of a divorce or loss it is tempting to retreat from the world in order to hide one’s sorrow from our friends and family. And after a separation, a couple’s friends tend to split up according to their loyalties.

“In my case, my ex-spouse kept the house and business, and since most of our friends were also industry associates they have gravitated to him, and I stopped seeing or hearing from friends just when I needed comfort the most,” says Marta in San Francisco, California (US). “Fortunately a few acquaintances had decided to start a monthly dinner group. They insisted I attend, and although I was reluctant at first, I am very glad I did. I have met some interesting people, been offered wonderful opportunities, and I had the chance to unload some woes on kind ears.”

Cooking and sharing meals as a form of emotional communion is a two-way street; it benefits both the giver and receiver. People enjoy turning to food as a way to connect with friends and neighbors after a divorce, separation or loss. One does not need to be an accomplished cook to use food as a healing connection—even sharing a simple meal of take-out Chinese can be therapeutic.

But if you can cook—or you have always wanted to learn how—conjuring up a warm meal can be very healing because it fills a void; because it employs the mind; and because it is a way of recreating past memories and experiences.

Linda in Brooklyn, New York (US) says, “I was awake at 3:00 in the morning trying to be with my grief when I turned on the television and saw an old rerun of Julia Child. I have been obsessed ever since. I’ve always found baking to be very meditative and calming. I enjoyed being able to create happiness for myself and my friends, and have a focus.”

Abby in Exton, Pennsylvania (US) said, “Everyone thought I was nuts, but were it not for the ritual of weighing ingredients, creaming butter with sugar, cutting parchment paper, and hovering near the oven to make sure I turned things around halfway through, I would have had a nervous breakdown.”

Irma Rombauer self-published the first Joy of Cooking in 1931 with the small insurance payout she received after her husband committed suicide during the Great Depression.

In her book, Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life, New York Times food writer Kim Severson reveals her professional and personal struggles, which included failed relationships and alcohol addiction.   The only thing she could always rely on was her “ability to go to the kitchen, turn on the stove and feed someone.”

Even if you are a hopeless cook, allowing your friends to feed you can be a boon for them as well. It lets them offer support and sympathy without being intrusive, and it reassures them that you are going to be all right.

Ken in Seattle, Washington (US) says, “We’ve kept our friend going. I don’t think he’d eat anything at all if it weren’t for dinners at our place. That’s how we knew there was something wrong, in fact—we hadn’t seen either of them in a while and then he showed up at our door, alarmingly thin. Making sure he gets fed has been good for all three of us.”

In her book The Relaxed Kitchen, author Brigit Binns talks about discovering that her husband was cheating on her, her subsequent flight (literally and emotionally) from Spain to Los Angeles, and the difficulty of starting a new life in a strange place, alone. “I attacked the chore of fitting into a culture I’d left behind ten years before. Bagged salad greens and cordless phones seemed like magic. I hadn’t been on a date in ten years.” Binns set about turning her back patio, a simple concrete block and cement space, into a shady venue surrounded by potted bougainvillea and tomatoes where she could entertain and cook for friends.

But one need not be a gourmet cook to enjoy the preparation and communion of food. Keep the menu simple. Choose dishes that can be prepared well ahead of time and served cold, or gently warmed. Buy prepared dishes from the market to supplement one or two homemade dishes. Then relax and enjoy the company of your friends. And remember, they need you as much as you need them.