(WGHP) — In good times or bad, the Out of the Garden Project has always found a way to make sure people who needed a meal (or several) had just that.
During the pandemic, the community stepped up to increase Out of the Garden’s normal intake – and, therefore, distribution – of food from somewhere between one and two million pounds to more than six million.
“This year, it will be between three and four million pounds of food. That’s a 30% cut but we haven’t had a drop off in the number of people needing food,” Out of the Garden founder Don Milholin said.
And it’s not just that donations aren’t quite keeping up with their pandemic peak.
“We have not been able to buy a pallet of food because the shipping is so messed up,” said Milholin, about what the organization does with cash donations. “Where I was buying cans of food for 39-49 cents I can now buy it but it’s 80 cents a can, so you’re talking a significant difference.”
Out of the Garden is always looking to expand its mission and so is Goodwill. You might wonder why it took so long for each one to see how they could work together but that’s what they’re doing now. Goodwill will have boxes in its locations for people to drop off donations to Out of the Garden and at the main office of Goodwill of Central North Carolina on Eugene Street south of downtown Greensboro, they’ve started a class to help people be smarter about what they eat and how they prepare it.
Carolyn Sarachaga, Out of the Garden’s clinical nutritionist, runs the six-week class at Goodwill. One of the things Sarachaga focuses on is the psychology of dealing with the Holidays.
“We feel like that when there’s a table full of food that we have to eat it, just because it’s there,” Sarachaga said. “So, I’m going to encourage you to go to functions fully loaded with a cup of water in your belly, so you’ve already got that in you and just make choices and when your body says, ‘I’m full,’ push away. You can still sit at the table but you don’t have to keep eating.”
Over the course of the six weeks, Sarachaga saw her class having success.
“They would come in every week and tell us about a low A1C that they got or a good checkup that they got or lost six pounds so it’s very encouraging,” she said.
For Goodwill, this fits right in with its mission.
“We have a saying here and we try really hard to live by it, which is, ‘Together is better,’” Goodwill’s Teresa Smith said. “So, anything that you can do with another organization that furthers both of your missions is much better than just going single – double the impact on the community.”
See more about this partnership in this edition of The Buckley Report.