-HOST A DONATION STATION-

three women talk over produce

Market patrons gather around to hear about healthy food at their market.

Caswell County Farmers' Market

Yanceyville, NC

Caswell County

Each week at the Caswell Farmers Market, there is one table that isn’t selling anything. Instead, that table serves as a collection point for food and monetary donations to feed the hungry. Volunteers are stationed at this table to collect donations and educate visitors about hunger in North Carolina. The goal of the Donation Station is to increase access to healthy foods and reduce food waste, all while ensuring that farmers are paid fairly for their food.

How can one initiative make such an impact? First, volunteers collect food and monetary donations from patrons while the market is open. At the end of the market, volunteers use those donated funds to purchase food from the market’s farmers at a fair price. Farmers can also donate food that they will not be able to sell later.

All the donated produce is then picked up by the recipient organization, County Outreach Ministry. Through this program, farmers are paid for their product, food that would have been thrown away is given a second chance, and people who don’t normally have access to fresh produce are given some nutritious options.

The most important part of hosting a Donation Station is having community support. Before this station started, the Caswell Farmers’ Market made sure they had a volunteer that could be present at each market. All volunteers completed a training where they learn about food safety, how to run a Donation Station, and information on hunger in North Carolina. Additionally, the market manager connected with a recipient organization that was interested in distributing fresh produce to hungry people and could handle the weekly drop-off.

Here are the steps to take to start a Donation Station:

  • Engage Stakeholders: Make sure the manager of your Farmers’ Market is on board with the idea, and identify a lead volunteer who will handle volunteer recruitment and manage the Donation Station. Gather support from the market’s sellers and visitors.

  • Identify a Recipient Organization: It is important to make sure the recipient organization can handle the amount of produce you will be supplying after each market.

  • Start Your Station! Once you have the market manager, volunteers, sellers, and recipient organization on board, you are ready to open your station!​

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