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Table to Table needs volunteers to help feed those in need while preventing food waste


Table to Table workers unload food, March 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Table to Table is in need of volunteers to assist with its work of helping feed people in need by preventing food waste. Since 1996, the Iowa City-based nonprofit has relied on volunteers to collect food from farms, restaurants and other businesses, then sort and package the food before delivering it to Table to Table’s partner organizations that assist those facing food insecurity.

With the growing season underway in Iowa — or about to be underway in some parts, weather permitting — Table to Table has an increased need for gleaners.

“Farmers will sometimes not harvest all the crops they are growing as produce in their field — tomatoes, squash, zucchini, whatever it is — and what we do is put together some volunteers and go out harvest that for them,” Jared Long, volunteer coordinator for Table to Table, explained. “And then we distribute that to our partners.”

Gleaners collect donated food from farmers market vendors after the market closes as well.

There’s also a need for volunteers to pack and deliver the donated food to Table to Table’s partners. Help from home gardeners is also welcome.

Table to Table’s “Grow a Row” program asks home gardeners to plant an extra row of vegetables to be donated to the nonprofit. Table to Table accepts produce donations from farmers and gardeners from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Last September Table to Table moved to a new location in Pepperwood Plaza (1049 Hwy 6 East), and now shares a much larger space with Field to Family.

“It’s a great partnership,” Long said.

Since beginning its work a quarter century ago, Table to Table has delivered more than 25 million pounds of food to Johnson County-area agencies that “serve the hungry, homeless and at-risk populations,” as it explained on its website.

More information about how to volunteer and how to make a donation to support Table to Table’s work is available on its site or by calling 319-337-3400.


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