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It’s harvest season and local food banks want excess items to help needy families

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BLACKFOOT— Nearly 200 volunteers showed up in Blackfoot Saturday morning to pick, husk, blanch and package corn for The Community Dinner Table.

The Community Dinner Table is a multi-faith organization that provides weekly dinners in Bingham County to those in need of a meal or fellowship.

Lee Hammett and Randy Shiosaii are on the board of The Community Dinner Table, and have been holding the corn husking service event for the past 12 years.

“Richard Johnson donates the corn. He’s a farmer. He tells me when the corn will be ready, and then I schedule the date,” said Shiosaai. “This is the best corn in all of the western United States. He grows this specifically for us. He keeps it sweet because he knows the people that we work with love it.”

Members of the community come together before the sun rises to pick and husk the corn. It is then transferred to the Jason Lee Methodist Church, where more volunteers are waiting to process and freeze it.

“One year we actually did 7,000 ears of corn, but I think Richard is trying to keep it at 5,000. That’s a lot of corn,” said Hammett.

In the end, the event yields around 150 gallons to freeze.

corn
Bagging corn at The Community Dinner Table in Blackfoot. | Morgan Mathis, EastIdahoNews.com

As summer winds down and the cooler weather starts to work its way across eastern Idaho, farmers and gardeners are harvesting fresh, locally grown produce.

Year after year, folks in our area leave zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes and other produce out on the the curb for anyone who could use it. They bring it to church and to work, trying to find a home for the produce they know they won’t be able to use before it goes bad.

One in 11 eastern Idahoans are food insecure, according to the Idaho Food Bank. Gardeners can play a key role in providing fresh produce for those struggling to feed their families.

Hammett says their organization and others like theirs could use any locally grown produce.

“If it’s grown in the ground, if it has got dirt on it, we take it,” he explains.

The donations are used at the Community Pantry, which is also run by The Community Dinner Table.

Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership’s Rexburg Outreach Food Pantry is also seeking donations.

“We will accept any produce that people are willing to bring in as long as they’re not rotten,” Bella Atriano from the Outreach Center told EastIdahoNews.com.

The Community Food Basket in Idaho Falls and The Giving Cupboard in Rigby accept donations to feed the community as well.

“We would accept any type of produce. We prefer stuff that doesn’t have to be refrigerated right away just because we have limited refrigerator space,” said Kori Ellis, Vice President of the Giving Cupboard.

If you would like to donate your excess harvest, The Idaho Food Bank and Ample Harvest keep up-to-date information on food banks that accept locally grown produce.

If you are looking for a hot meal in Bingham County, you can find one at The Community Dinner Table every Tuesday night from the beginning of October through the end of March.

corn on the cob
Morgan Mathis | EastIdahoNews.ccom

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