-DONATE GARDEN PRODUCE-
During Operation Veggie Box’s annual event, volunteers from across the community pack hundreds of produce boxes for distribution
Operation Veggie Box
Many community gardens donate produce to hunger relief agencies. In Pamlico County, one organization is teaming up with several community gardens to package hundreds of pounds of vegetables for food-insecure families and individuals.
Operation Veggie Box was started by members of Bethany Christian Church in Arapahoe, NC, with two goals: to provide the hungry with nutritious food and to spread spiritual guidance. The program partners with several community gardens and commercial farms in Pamlico County to distribute locally grown, fresh produce. This produce is collected, packaged in boxes, and delivered to those in need directly by the Fishes and Loaves Ministry in Pamlico County. Each box includes scripture and produce to satisfy both spiritual and physical hunger.
Most community gardens that supply Operation Veggie Box are faith-based and donation-driven. Once a year, Operation Veggie Box hosts an annual vegetable packaging day, where church and community members come together to spend an afternoon packaging hundreds of produce boxes for distribution. Trucks of produce are brought in, and everyone works together to fill up the boxes with produce and scripture. This popular event brings new and returning volunteers to commune and work together.
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The Operation Veggie Box model can be adapted to community gardens, churches, or organizations interested in providing produce to people on a wide-scale. Partnership is key. By linking up with commercial farms and community gardens, enough produce is donated to keep Operation Veggie Box sustainable. Additionally, food waste is reduced, and community engagement is increased. Commercial farms can give back to their community, reduce the amount of produce wasted, and actively take part in delivering the produce. Begin by connecting with a local partner. Identify a hunger relief program that you might support. It could be a Christian ministry like Fishes and Loaves, or the local food bank. Once partnerships are in place and donation recipients are identified, decide on a method of packaging. Operation Veggie Box uses sturdy, cost-effective cardboard boxes. Depending on your volume, determine which days to designate as packing days to load and deliver your produce boxes.