President Obama and his family are continuing the tradition they started four years ago with a National Day of Service. Today the first family asked Americans to find an event and serve with others in their community to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ampleharvest.org is one of the organizations participating in the event. Founder and Executive Director Gary Oppenheimer said one out of six Americans needs food assistance, but can't get fresh produce from the local food pantry, while millions of American homeowners grow more food in their backyard gardens than they can possibly use.
"We created Ampleharvest.org as a virtual solution to hunger, enabling millions of people across the country with extra food in their garden to be able to donate that food to a local food pantry in their own neighborhood and to do it in a sustainable way year after year after year," said Oppenheimer.
There are four steps to help eliminate hunger and malnutrition in your community while improving the environment: ask a food pantry in your community to sign up at Ampleharvest.org, bring Ampleharvest.org to the growers in your community, contact your friends nationwide and tell them what you did, and donate excess garden produce from your garden to a nearby food pantry.
"You can do them one at a time at your convenience when you're able to and when you're ready," said Oppenheimer. "If you can do them in an afternoon, great. If you want to do it over two days or two weeks, that's perfectly fine too. Whatever works for you is going to work for us."
Several local food pantries are registered with Ampleharvest.org including the Salvation Army in Cambridge, the Salvation Army in Newark, the Pleasant City Food Pantry and the Salvation Army in Coshocton.