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YMCA Community Garden benefits local food pantries


WESTON, Wis. (WSAU) -- The first year of a YMCA garden project is producing a lot of food for families in need. YMCA Branch Manager David Phelps says the new garden at the Woodson YMCA Aspirus Community Garden is already yielding produce, and they deliver 100% of it to local food pantries.  “All of the food is going directly to the area food pantries, whether it’s in Wausau or down here in the Weston-Everest area. We have to date donated over 340 pounds of produce, and anticipate many more pounds coming in the next few weeks.”

Phelps says it takes a lot of volunteers to make the garden successful, and they could even use a few more.  “We have had numerous volunteers, actually 49 different volunteers in our community have donated time so far this year in either helping us plan the garden in the beginning, plant it, and now harvesting.”

Anyone that would like to help harvest and clean the garden goodies is welcome to help.  “We’re harvesting on Sunday evenings from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., on Tuesday mornings from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m., and Thursday in the late afternoon from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. All of those times coincide with us getting the harvest cleaned and ready to deliver on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays out to our area food bank pantries.”

So far, they’ve had great crops of green beans and cucumbers. Several other vegetables are about ready.

Phelps says the gardens’ produce has been distributed through several familiar community food programs.  “We’ve donated to Salvation Army, The Neighbor’s Place, and several of the area food pantries here in the D.C. Everest areas.”

Phelps says they will definitely do the garden project again next year. After the harvest is complete, he says they will discuss what might be different or expanded in the spring.