GRANTS PASS, Ore. — A group of National Civilian Conservation Corps volunteers are helping to feed the hungry in Josephine County.
They have been working on Raptor Creek farm for six weeks now and are putting the finishing touches on several final projects. The group, primarily from the East Coast, has been volunteering on the farm for 6 weeks. Everyday, they work an eight hour shift, which is spent planting, harvesting, and tending to the Josephine County Food Bank Garden.
The group arrived when the seeds were first put in the ground, but now all the plants are fully grown and some like zucchini and cantaloupe are already being harvested. The volunteers are also making the garden more friendly to others who may want to donate their time to the community and come to the garden to help out. They are making signs to give it more curb appeal. The signs number each plot of the garden, parking spaces, and more.
All of the fresh produce from the garden goes directly to the food bank where it is distributed to hungry families in need.
“Here it will be sorted into the cooler, and then it will be given out to one of the 25 agencies we work with in Josephine County,” said Sam Engle, Resource Coordinator at the Josephine County Food Bank. “That food will then be given to families in need throughout the county.”
“It just really helps give you a sense of accomplishment to know that these fruits and vegetables that are going to people who need them,” said Mandy Withrow, a NCCC AmeriCorps volunteer.
By the end of harvesting season, more than 45,000 pounds of food will be donated from the garden. Already about 1,000 pounds has been picked and delivered. The plants are not the only ones growing though, AmeriCorps volunteers say because of the program and the experience they gained, they are too.
“I just feel like I have seen a whole different part of the United States that I would have never seen otherwise,” said Withrow.