by Carrie C. Causey
YOUNGSVILLE — During Monday’s United Way Feeding Franklin food distribution, pantry representatives were thrilled at an addition to their bags.
Next to their jars of peanut butter and jelly and canned vegetables was fresh produce and vouchers for more in the coming weeks, thanks to the efforts of the United Way of Franklin County’s Here We Grow initiative.
United Way Director Kathy Harrelson said more than 17,000 food items were donated during the spring drive. Grateful for all of the items and the generous donations by the community to help their neighbors, Harrelson said the produce was a great bonus.
“It adds more nutrition,” she said. “United Way focuses on health and nutritious eating and income stability. There is nothing better than fresh vegetables.”
She knows how easy it is to stop by the drive-thru and get something off of the dollar menu to save money, but hopes through initiatives like the food drives for area pantries and the Here We Grow program, people will make healthier choices.
Not everything was ready in time for distribution. Volunteers are needed to help harvest the first spring garden at Mae Farm, off Mitchell Church Way in Louisburg.
The Here We Grow committee in partnership with the Franklin County Agriculture Extension Service and Mae Farm owners, Mike and Suzanne Jones, planted eight, 130-foot rows of squash, onions and broccoli.
“We are very excited about the spring garden and supporting the United Way food program’s network of pantries in Feeding Franklin,” Here We Grow Committee Chairman Barry Barker said in a press release.
Here We Grow started as an initiative to offer healthy food, take advantage of the county’s rich agriculture and bring the community together.
The project has and can continue to serve as an outreach for groups such as Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, churches, businesses and other interested residents.
To volunteer to help with the garden or offer land for future plots, e-mail Barker at firstname.lastname@example.org.