Feeding America: Local farmers, volunteers help stock local food banks

Hunger Action Month

(WPRI) — September is Hunger Action Month and WPRI 12 and our parent company, Nexstar, are helping to raise awareness.

Earlier this month, we told you about a seafood distribution program that benefits both fishermen and those who need food. A similar program exists to help farmers and those who need fresh food.

At SODCO Farm in North Kingstown, an acre of corn was grown just for Hope’s Harvest volunteers to pick. The sod-growing company doesn’t charge for the corn.

Cornfield at SODCO Farm in North Kingstown

Lil Lau of Warwick is a volunteer who picks corn in the field.

“I’m fortunate that I have food every day. There are people who don’t. I like to be able to give back to my community,” Lau told 12 News.

Farmers will either donate surplus crops or sell what they have to agencies like Hope’s Harvest RI.

“We get fruit, we get vegetables. We’re not super picky about what we take. We think it’s a big help to Rhode Island’s families to not just have access to food, but fresh, healthy food that’s going to last a long time in their fridge,” Executive Director of Hope’s Harvest RI, Eva Agudlo said.

FIND FOOD: Here are links to food pantries around Rhode Island »

From the sod farm, the freshly-picked ears of corn are driven right to local food banks like Farm Fresh RI and the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.

Ness Richman of the Rhode Island Food Council helps connect farmers and other food providers in Rhode Island to organizations that can help those in need.

“The households that receive fresh foods from Rhode Island farmers are getting our state’s best. They’re getting more nutrition because of that. They’re getting more fresh food because of that,” Richman said.

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