Community members are being asked to think outside of the can and try growing food for the Shoreline food bank, Hopelink. The “Grow a Row” campaign is meant to encourage home gardeners to plant an extra row of produce in their spring gardens.
Among the items Hopelink Shoreline center supervisor Leslie Brooks recommends home gardeners grow for Hopelink are beets, green onions, green beans and tomatoes. Potatoes, squash, fruits and herbs such as rosemary and oregano are also suggestions.
“We don’t have real specific requests,” she said. “We’ll take whatever people are willing and capable of growing in their gardens.”
Hopelink needs to receive donations of fresh produce for several reasons, according to Denise Stephens, public relations specialist for Hopelink. Produce can be expensive and difficult for clients to afford, she said.
The produce donations are also essential to help balance clients’ diets.
“The more fresh, nutritious food we can get into the hands of our clients, the better,” Brooks said.
Fresh produce donations are also necessary since produce is perishable and must be distributed. During a weekly distribution time Jan. 29, volunteer Sandra Reynolds smiled at clients as she bagged oranges.
“These oranges need to be eaten quickly,” she reminded one client as a he passed through the distribution line, where additional volunteers added onions, potatoes and pears to the mix of food he was receiving for the week.
Stephens said Hopelink has tried to encourage people to grow a row for Hopelink in the past, but found it difficult to accomplish.
“We were unable to come up with an efficient, effective way to reach home gardeners,” Stephens.
Some donors periodically bring in homegrown produce to Hopelink locations according to Stephens. Brooks is hopeful the Shoreline community will consistently bring in more fresh produce this year.
“It’s definitely something we’re hoping to get more of,” she said.
Hopelink is located at 15809 Westminster Way N. in Shoreline. Food donations are accepted Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information about Hopelink can be found at www.hope-link.org.