Ministry grows 15,000 pounds of produce for families in need - WNCN: News, Weather

Ministry grows 15,000 pounds of produce for families in need

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ARAPAHOE, N.C. - North Carolina has one of the highest state hunger rates in the nation and a ministry in Pamlico County is working to combat that statistic and feed families in the east fresh and healthy food.

The garden planted on Friday at Camp Seafarer in Arapahoe will produce 500 cabbage plants and 100 lettuce plants.

"The need for food in communities is so great and there is people starving all over the country," said volunteer and Camp Seafarer staff member, Jared Biller.

Nearly 100 volunteers from the East are working this month to plant seven gardens in Pamlico County.

"I also have a family and that is an area that I'm sensitive too. Knowing that as a parent, it is important to feel like you're providing for your child and if we can help do that for parents, it's the least we can do," said Camp Seafarer executive director of extended season, Allison Simmons.

"It is a good feeling to know we're doing our Christian service and we're helping people,” said Operation Hunger Box lead, David Bailey. “Hunger is a serious issue in our area.”

According to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina’s report in Pamlico County, more than 17,000 people were served in 2011. More than 360,000 pounds of food were served, each pound costing about 22 cents. By the end of July, Operation Veggie Box will provide more than 15,000 pounds of fresh produce at less than 10 cents a pound.

"I think anyway that we can get good fresh vegetables to people helps people who really don't have enough money to buy food. It's a good feeling,” said Bailey. “We are making a difference here. Everybody you see here today is making a difference and it's just a good thing to be involved in."

While the first harvest won’t be until mid-May, this experience is already changing the lives of those involved.

"Any impact you can make by planting food or taking the time to just go out and help hoe a field like this is a great benefit to provide food to someone or anyone that needs food and a huge impact to yourself and the community,” said Biller.

Leaders with Operation Veggie Box say their long-term goal is to expand the ministry statewide. Click here to visit their website.

Operation Veggie Box will host Corn JAM! and Veggie JAM! on June 28. At the Corn JAM! portion of the event, the organization and volunteers will pick sweet corn from a one acre field, which results in about 20,000 ears of corn. During the Veggie JAM! portion, Operation Veggie Box will distribute 1,000 boxes of produce from Pamlico County to Raleigh. The goal is to pack each box with five-pounds of sweet potatoes, three-pounds of onions and six ears of corn. Leaders are still looking for farms to donate sweet potatoes.

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