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Good Food Work Happening...Nationally and Locally...FarmLink and Together We Can

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Dear FarmLink Community Member,


FarmLink has now helped connect 3.5 million pounds of fresh produce from farms to communities in need! Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us, sharing your valuable thoughts, ideas, and resources.


Out of the 40+ farm to food bank connections FarmLink made this week alone, here are a few that we wanted to highlight for you!


• 286,000 eggs made their way from Pitman, Pennsylvania to Maryland Food Bank (Baltimore, Maryland), Anne Arundel County Food & Resource Bank (Crownsville, Maryland), Montco Anti-Hunger Network (Montgomery County, Pennsylvania), Food Not Bombs (West Philadelphia and South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), a cluster of local churches (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), and La Morada Restaurant (Bronx, New York). These eggs will help feed local community members, protestors, and refugees. Read more about FarmLink’s connection with La Morada Restaurant and this delivery here.


• 180,750 pounds of mixed produce boxes traveled from Pacific Produce to Food Rescue US (Detroit, Michigan) and various communities in Chicago, New York City, and Hamilton (New York). These produce boxes were made up of a colorful array of potatoes, onions, carrots, oranges, grapefruit, apples, and pears! FarmLink helped connect these produce boxes and coordinate logistics, while the US Department of Agriculture took charge in distributing them. Read more about FarmLink’s work with Food Rescue US here.



• 40,000 pounds of potatoes were transported from Moses Lake, Washington and distributed to the White Mountain Apache Tribe (Pinetop, Arizona). The White Mountain Apache Tribe consists of 16,000 tribal members, most of whom live on the 1.67 million acre reservation in east-central Arizona.


• 40,000 pounds of potatoes made their way from Troutdale, Oregon to the Navajo Nation (Rehoboth, New Mexico). This is one of multiple deliveries that FarmLink has helped execute to the Navajo Nation thus far. Spanning over 17 million acres and 175,000 tribal members, the Navajo Nation has been hit particularly hard by Covid-19. Read more about FarmLink’s connection with the Navajo Nation here.


• 110 gallons of goat milk were connected from Hidden Pastures Goat Dairy in Glenfield, New York to Mercy Point Church’s Soup Kitchen (Watertown, New York) as well as the North Country Prenatal/Perinatal Council (Watertown, New York). The MPC Soup Kitchen serves meals twice a week to families in need across the Jefferson County area, while the NCPPC delivers milk to mothers in need around the upstate New York counties. Read more about the connection with Hidden Pastures Goat Dairy here.



FarmLink uploads new articles highlighting various communities and deliveries to the website every week! Head on over to our News page to explore some stories about the wonderful farmers and food banks that we have helped connect!


Stickers are still available for purchase, with proceeds going directly to FarmLink. You may also choose to donate directly to FarmLink here.


Run by an entirely volunteer staff, FarmLink uses 100% of donated funds to buy produce and pay industry workers. With your help, we are reducing hunger and food waste across the United States. Thank you for supporting our mission of feeding those in need while financing essential jobs.


Sincerely,

The FarmLink Team


To stay up to date, follow FarmLink on social media!

Facebook: @thefarmlinkproject

Instagram: @farmlinkproject

Twitter: @farmlinkproject


FarmLink in the News:

The Today Show // The Washington Post // ABC


Photos by TJ Samuels


First seen in The Philadelphia Citizen

CITIZEN OF THE WEEK:

PATTY BASSETT

DO SOMETHING


The Delco mom pairs families experiencing hunger in the face of Covid-19 with those who can give—right in their own backyards

BY JESSICA PRESS


JUN. 02, 2020


Giving money to causes that matter to you is critical, and has the power to transform lives. But often it can feel impersonal, or not quite as impactful as you’d like it to, particularly if the organization you’re supporting has high operating costs, or many layers between donor and recipient.


So as the impact of the coronavirus epidemic began to hit Delaware County, Patty Bassett, who lives in Newtown Square, felt compelled to do more than write a check. She knew things were bad for families, even before the pandemic: According to data from Feeding America, 12.3 percent of people in Delaware County are food-insecure. In its city of Chester, that figure is between 30 and 40 percent.


Bassett was especially concerned about families with young children and senior citizens who don’t have access to food distribution centers, whether because of mobility issues, health issues or other barriers.


“When the pandemic happened, we saw the growing need for food and were also forecasting that this is going to be a big issue going forward for the foreseeable future,” says the mom of two college-aged kids.


Bassett hatched a plan, calling it Together We Can, to connect the many families she knew who wanted to give back directly with people in need—while protecting the privacy of recipient individuals and families at all times.


She started by reaching out to 40 potential donor families that she knew personally, writing them a note that said: We would love to help families in need in our local community. Would you want to help?


Immediately she was flooded with yesses. In the last month, she has worked with 30 donors to help feed 22 families, or 84 people, in Delaware County—and is now set to launch her project in neighboring suburban counties, as well.


With a Wharton MBA and years of financial services experience in the U.S. and U.K. under her belt, Bassett also has a unique lens on how the food supply chain operates: Her banker husband, David, has worked for nearly a decade with clients in all aspects of the food chain, from agriculture to restaurants to packaged goods.


“A lot of people think that food insecurity is caused by the lack of food, but it’s not,” Bassett says. “Our country has plenty of food. The issues are logistics and access.”


“A lot of people think that food insecurity is caused by the lack of food, but it’s not,” Bassett says. “Our country has plenty of food. The issues are logistics and access.”


Two of the biggest barriers to food security in our local communities are economic and physical access to food, she says; job losses, medical issues and debt often underlie the former, and a lack of transportation to even get to supermarkets or food banks, the latter.


To overcome these challenges, Bassett decided to move ahead with a pilot program; she called Gloria Maples, who works on food programs at Family and Community Services of Delaware County, to identify members of the community with the highest needs. Working with Maples, families created lists of the things they most needed—from allergy-friendly foods to specific types of infant formula and diapers.


Bassett then took those list of requests and matched each family in need with a donor family; donors had the option of using grocery delivery services, like Instacart, or buying and dropping off items for packaging at Bassett’s home, to then be immediately delivered by Roadie.com (an on-demand driving service, for packages).


Related from The Philadelphia Citizen:

A woman loads up a bag with oranges at North Philly Peace Park to help feed families in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

Feeding Peacetown

The pandemic hasn’t kept North Philly Peace Park from getting healthy food to their neighbors—and building a self-reliant community for the future

At no time did donor families know the identity of the recipients they were supporting; all of that behind-the-scenes work was handled discreetly by Bassett and Maples.


TWC’s pilot program ran from April 23 and concluded on May 14. During that three-week period, the organization provided the equivalent of 1,275 meals to 84 people from 22 families, with material and financial donations coming from 30 families.


In addition to meals, many donor families provided cleaning supplies and clothing that their “adopted” families had requested. Every single recipient chose to send a personal thank you note to its donor family, signing it by first name only to protect their privacy.


Bassett quickly brought on partners, like New York-based meal delivery service Freshly and Chicago-based healthy snack brand Tea Squares, to be able to access discounted rates.


“We’ve always talked about the fact that with privilege comes responsibility. And food is so fundamental; you can’t do anything if you don’t have the basics,” she says. “I feel that if you can solve food, it will address education, healthcare, and so many other major issues for our society.”


She created a board of directors, led by her husband and guided by trusted friends and community members. And she plans to grow from Delaware County into neighboring Montgomery and Chester Counties as well.


“One of the things that we are fundamentally guaranteeing to all of our donors is that 100 percent of everything you provide is going to the families in need,” Bassett says, noting that TWC already established 501c3 status, and that her work is purely on a volunteer basis. “Every cent that comes in, we are giving to providing food for the families. And that’s something I could not find anywhere else.”


She’s especially proud to provide families with exactly what they need or want—as opposed to other food programs that have a more generic stock of supplies. “We want to understand, on a more detailed level, what the needs are of our community and provide those things, so that our donors’ support is not wasted in any way,” she says. Donors can choose to “adopt” a family to support these specialized needs, or to contribute specific amounts towards the costs of items like snack boxes, meals, and groceries (which are common needs).


Maples, of Family and Community Services of Delaware County, has been blown away by Bassett’s impact, efficiency and dedication.


The Northeast Philly resident has been donating food to hungry Community College of Philadelphia students since January. Now, she’s offering free meals to a different population: those in need because of coronavirus

“Patty and her donors have been so awesome,” she says. “And the families have been so grateful and happy and thankful for all that she has done.” She says that the city of Chester has been especially hard hit, and that Bassett’s support has touched seniors whose money only stretches so far, and families who are barely making it.


“This is the time when everybody needs to pull together, when people with resources can really help others,” Maples says.


Bassett says that’s a lesson she and her husband have always tried to instill in, and model for, their children.


“We’ve always talked about the fact that with privilege comes responsibility. And food is so fundamental; you can’t do anything if you don’t have the basics,” she says. “I feel that if you can solve food, it will address education, healthcare, and so many other major issues for our society.”






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