Year-round we're always working to have fresh fruits and vegetables available, but at this point in the summer, our partnerships with backyard gardeners, the local farmer's market, and local farms and grocery stores are in full effect.
For the second year in a row, we're collaborating with Keohane Funeral Home which provided free seedlings to backyard gardeners in June. The results of those gardening efforts are just beginning to appear on the Pantry's shelves: tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini galore. In addition to neighbors who stepped forward to help, the seedlings were also made available to families who use the Food Pantry so they could grow some of their own food if they had gardening space.
This summer we've also launched a new partnership with the Weymouth Farmer's Market to double people's SNAP (aka food stamp) dollars at the market in order to make fresh, local produce accessible to every family, regardless of income. It works like this: you head to the Market Manager's table when you arrive and we'll run your EBT card for whatever amount you'd like and give you that money in "market bucks" which are small wooden tokens that will never expire. In addition, we'll give you twice the value of the amount you charged to your EBT card (up to $20 per day). So if you were to charge $20 to your EBT card, we'd give you $40 in market bucks to spend at the Farmer's Market. What a deal, right?
Also, the system also enables us to charge debit cards at the Market Manager's table, which means it's not only people using EBT cards who are using the system, but anyone who'd like to use a card instead of cash at the market. We hope this will make using the system more comfortable for people. Thank you to our fantastic donors and volunteers who stepped forward from our Facebook page to make this program happen. It's definitely a community effort!
Speaking of community efforts, we're grateful to Weir River Farm in Hingham for the gorgeous summertime produce they've been donating. Another favorite has been all the strawberries BJs Weymouth has been donating. When they arrive, the smell permeates the Pantry like nothing else. We love it!
Thank you to all our collaborators, partners, volunteers and donors who are making it another bountiful summer of fresh fruits and veggies.