Volunteers hope free-produce program can continue at South School

Jun 11, 2018

Rockland — As an extension of Area Interfaith Outreach's Weekend Backpack Program, fresh produce was offered free to families once a month at South School during the 2017-18 school year. Through Good Shepherd Food Bank and AIO, the South School Parents-Teachers-Friends was able to distribute more than a ton of produce in just three months, including apples, grapes, nectarines, plums, cantaloupes, lettuce, onions, mushrooms, carrots, green peppers, potatoes and cauliflower.

On weekends when school is not in session, the children who receive free and reduced-price school meals are at risk of going without the nutrition they need. To help fill this gap, AIO’s Backpack Program provides a bag of nutritious, shelf-stable food each Friday throughout the school year to 325 children in 17 Knox County schools. Good Shepherd supplies the food, charging AIO $225 per child for the school year. All of that is raised in the Midcoast and through charitable grants.

Volunteer Brenda Thomas said the PTF hopes to continue the produce program on the first Tuesday of each month, starting in October, and is looking into the possibility of distributing fresh fruit in July and August as well. Volunteers would be needed to make that possible, she said.

Produce is distributed in a farmer's market setup at South School, with families who are unable to come to the school encouraged to call 596-2020 or email southschoolptf@gmail.com to arrange for transportation or delivery.

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Thomas at southschoolptf@gmail.com.

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