Tales of Excess Produce
by Maureen McNair
Saturday pantry volunteers are likely to observe that I live in fear of excess produce. It is perishable and, while the pantry has some refrigeration space, we do not have suﬃcient refrigeration space to store very much fresh produce for a week. We want food to go into the community right away, not into landﬁlls.
Recently, the San Diego Food Bank delivered 2,900 pounds of produce in one day, nearly twice the amount they usually send, and without prior notice. Our crack bagging teams sorted all of it and put it in individual bags in a couple hours before our food distribution began and, we got it out the door. Phew!
So recently, I really felt the pain of a pantry manager who runs a drive through food distribution in north Chula Vista near the National City border. She called me one morning and said her team had created 600 bags of produce for the 600 vehicles they were expecting. The cars were lined up. Unfortunately, the city forgot to tell her pantry a road repair crew would be working on the street by the pantry at the very same hours of the distribution. The city let 300 cars go through the food distribution, then ﬁnally shut it down so the crew could work. Could I take the 300 left over bags of produce?
Our pantry volunteers usually make about 150 produce bags for each Saturday. I told my friend we would take half her bags. She kept them refrigerated at her pantry for a couple days and delivered them to us. Luckily, her pantry has walk-in refrigeration that can hold tons of food and a pick up truck that can deliver food.
I was really happy to obliger her. Her gift to our pantry also made for a very easy Saturday morning for our usually hard working volunteers. I got to call several people and let them know they could come in a couple hours later than usual.
As I write this, another pantry manager in National City called me
and asked if we could take 10 boxes of celery oﬀ his hands. I always try to ﬁnd a way to say yes because our community of south bay pantries is so friendly and helpful when we need them.
So, I am going to start calling people with pick up trucks right now. Watch for my caller id on your cell phones!
5/8/2021 12:08:39 am
You are doing such a wonderful job and helping so many people.
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