I was feeling a little blue this morning, and wouldn’t you know it, after checking my email, I really cheered up. Just last night we were chatting with Drew Abruzzese at the Pineville Tavern who was bemoaning the fact that here in Bucks County he had no way of donating his surplus food (every restaurant has it) to the people who need it most locally. We talked about similar efforts in Philly and NYC, but said we needed to get one started here in Bucks.
Then I got an email this morning that Cathy Snyder, ordinary citizen, has done just that. From her community work at Fisherman’s Mark Food Pantry in Lambertville, she saw a need, and wondered what happened to extra farm produce. So one day she showed up at the New Hope Farmers’ Market and asked farmers if they wanted to donate any leftovers. That was the beginning. She started picking up at just one farm last May, and delivering to local food pantries. She now picks up at ten donor farms – Gravity Hill Farm, Milk House Farm Market, None Such Farm Market, Saint Ho Pao Farm, Solebury Orchards, Thorpe Farm, Tall Pine Farms, Sweet Valley Farm, Honey Brook Organic Farm and Open Acres CSA. The extra farm produce is received by Fisherman’s Mark Food Pantry, the Delaware Valley Interfaith Council Food Pantry, A Woman’s Place, the Community Kitchen of Lambertville, the Doylestown Food Pantry, Little Haven Shelter, Hibernia Senior Center and local Meals on Wheels.
The cost? Time (supplied by volunteers) and gas money, which is being paid by the Snyder family. The venture is called, “Gas Guzzling for Good: Food Rescue and Hunger Relief.” The “gas guzzler” is the family’s Ford Excursion, won in a lottery at the Churchill Downs one Kentucky Derby a few years ago. “I couldn’t believe we won this huge vehicle. I didn’t know what we were going to do with it,” says Cathy.
The free service will pick-up according to the donor’s schedule and is currently accepting fresh produce, dry goods and non-expired perishable foods (some expired food items may be acceptable for donation). As the growing season winds down, they will start picking up donations of restaurant prepared foods and leftovers from catered events. They do request a minimum donation of 70 pounds or five cases per pickup to minimize the environmental impact of driving.
How can you get involved? Contact Cathy Snyder at 215-862-6353 or email her at email@example.com if you’d like to volunteer, donate food, or get your non-profit added as a recipient. Also, right now they are not looking for cash donations, just food.
“The irony of it all,” says Cathy, “is that I am using this massive, gas-guzzling Ford Excursion to do so much good for the community.” I say, whatever. Thank you, Cathy Snyder, and everyone who volunteers for your project.