Gardeners give to local food banks

It’s starting to be that time again, at least here in Portland, where gardeners begin to think about their vegetable gardens. This year  consider planting an extra row or two to share with your local food pantry.

Gardeners last year donated more than 81, 000 pounds of fresh produce to food pantries, soup kitchens and other food agencies in the Portland metro area.

So dig some dirt, plant an extra row and plan to donate your surplus to one of the food agencies in your town.

Most wanted produce includes: tomatoes (picked slightly under ripe) green beans, garlic, onions, cucumbers, zucchini (hey there is a new use for all that zucchini), beets and summer squash.

For gardening resources or to find a partner agency, visit

A day of Mitzvahs

36) Yesterday, I had two wonderful opportunities to provide mitzvahs. I volunteer at an organization called Dress for Success whose mission is to clothe and help support low income women in participating in the work force. I have been a volunteer there for more than a year as a personal shopper and a mentor. I enjoy the work immensely. Yesterday, we had a special opportunity to work with a class of women who were training to be medical administration workers. There were 8 women who were coming for hair services, personal shopping and make up. Normally, when I volunteer there are two or three volunteers and two or three clients during the same period. Yesterday, there were a close to a dozen volunteers and staff from DFSO and 8 clients so the energy and excitement as the women transformed through out the morning was absolutely terrific. I enjoyed myself so much.

37) In the evening, my 6 year old son Solomon and I volunteered at the Oregon Food Bank. It was a long drive across town to a place I wasn’t familiar with. On the way, I told Solomon what we would be doing and I guess he hadn’t understood previously that this wasn’t going to include as he said “much fun or snacks for him.” By the time we arrived at the OFB he was crying and saying he wanted to go home or just sit in the car. I encouraged him to come inside and was successful. When we got inside and learned that we would have to wear hairnets to do our job he lost it again and was inconsolable. I felt bad for him but also realized we had come across town and I really wanted to be able to volunteer. So I did what any mom might do in my situation, I bribed him. He had seen the vending machine and asked for something out of it. As I am a pretty strict mom when it comes to sweets,  I said I would let him choose something if he allowed me to stay and participate. Not only did he stay but about 10 minutes later, he decided the hairnet over his hooded sweatshirt would be okay. He proceeded to fully participate with us bagging the carrots for distribution. He got his treat towards the end of our time there. Anyway, I felt there was some irony in bribing my son with food at a food bank to perform a mitzvah.