For the past fifteen years or so, we (and CSA members) have been donating vegetables and fruit each week to a local food pantry called Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes. For years, Loaves and Fishes volunteer Bob Montague was the face of the food pantry program for us. He would arrive every Thursday with an old Ford pick-up truck and load up the CSA vegetables donated by members who were on vacation that week or had even paid to provide a donation share weekly. Since the old truck gave up the ghost, we’ve been delivering the vegetables directly to the food pantry ourselves.

Loaves and Fishes was launched to provide emergency meals after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, but since then has become a steady source of nutritious food for the Watsonville community. They provide free hot lunches every weekday and free bags of groceries to people in need 5 days a week.

Loaves and Fishes’ energetic director, Kristal Cabellero, came out to visit our farm a couple years back. As we walked around the farm with Kristal, she told us that the demand for food assistance in Watsonville has risen greatly in recent years and they are struggling to meet this demand. She said they are committed to making sure fresh nutritious vegetables are well represented in the foods they provide. She expressed their gratitude to us and you for our donations, and Loaves and Fishes featured our farm in a newsletter article to their supporters.

Each year we deliver several thousand pounds of fresh produce to help fill the grocery bags and make balanced hot lunches at Loaves and Fishes. We donate produce that comes back unsold from our farmers market and farmstand, in addition to the vegetables that are donated by CSA subscribers. The need is great, and we feel good about our part in helping people eat well.

You can donate a CSA share any time that you know that you won’t be able to pick up your veggies that week. All you have to do is go to your account and look for the green “Summary” box on the upper right hand side. You will see a blue box that states “Change Location” across from “Pick-up Site”. Click it and choose “Donate: Loaves and Fishes” as your pick-up site. That will send your box to be delivered to Loaves and Fishes that week instead of your pick-up site. IMPORTANT: don’t forget to change it back to your usual pick-up site when you are back from vacation. This cannot be done in advance. If you prefer, you can always send an email to our CSA administrator, Jason, with the details and he will take care of it for you. Also, your donation is tax-deductible, so you can receive a donation form upon request. Thank you for helping to feed hungry people with your donations!

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