Kalapuya High School students, staff and volunteers gather each week to hand out fresh produce to local families who need it. Some of the produce is grown and provided by The Bethel Farm; some is provided by FOOD for Lane County as part of its Produce Plus program.
Every Wednesday, cars stretch from the Bethel Farm to the parking lot at Prairie Mountain School as families line up to be given a fresh bag of produce (and usually some melons or other large fruit) without even stepping out of their car.
“We’ve been able to use a combination of Food for Lane County and Bethel Farm produce, as well as donations from Nancy’s Yogurt and other companies to keep families fed throughout the pandemic,” said Kalapuya Principal Stefan Aumack. “We keep it mostly contact-free and place the produce directly into the trunk of the cars. It’s quick and efficient and serves hundreds of families each week.”
The Bethel produce team recently reached an impressive benchmark, serving more than 100,000 people since September of 2020. This week, the Bethel Farm contributed to each produce haul with watermelons, cantaloupes and eggplants.
The Produce Plus program provides high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables to people in need at community and neighborhood locations free of charge. FOOD for Lane County is committed to getting fruits and vegetables to community members who cannot typically afford such nutritious food. There is no program enrollment; all who come can be served, as long as they sign the self-declaration statement that they meet the income requirement.
Families throughout the community are welcome to visit the first-come, first-serve drive through produce pickup from 10:30 to 12:30 every Wednesday at the Bethel Farm located behind Prairie Mountain School, access via Patriot Way. Be sure to park in the Farm’s gravel parking area.
While other Produce Plus locations in Lane County were shut down during the pandemic, the Bethel Produce Plus program has increased service to the community. The work through the pandemic has been supported by Trillium and Food for Lane County – and expansion of our outreach and programming was made possible by a grant from the Oregon Food Bank (to build a walk-in cooler on the farm), collaboration with the Oregon Black Education Foundation, and a grant from United Way of Lane County.
Learn more about the program here: foodforlanecounty.org/get-help/trillium-produce-plus/