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Let's eat.

From Big Sur's killer cliff-clinging eateries to Salinas' unparalleled produce, this blog aims to sniff out all things Monterey County can stomach, via picture and prose, curiosity and appetite, hand and mouth.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Feeding the Need

Angels live among us.

Evidence—extensive evidence—lingers no further than the ever inspiring Monterey County Gives! website, which profiles the scores of local nonprofits participating in
the Monterey County Weekly Community Fund's annual fund-raising push.

Surprisingly few food/hunger-centered groups are involved—the Health, Wellness & Food category includes just two—but they are about as vital to our area's well-being as any organizations out there.

Ag Against Hunger feeds millions with what essentially would be thrown away. Without the Spreckels-based nonprofit, 11 million pounds of produce would have ended up in compost heaps or in landfills this year, instead of at local food banks which in turn distribute the food to groups that need it. The growers who produced that food would have had to pay a fee to dispose of it, and hungry people in three counties on the Central Coast, as well as those elsewhere in California, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Washington, would not have access to fresh produce.

“We can actually feed one person for one pound of produce, and given that 11 million pounds were saved last year,” Ag Against Hunger spokeswoman Lindsay Coate told me last week. "That’s a staggering amount of people."

Much of their goods go to Food Bank for Monterey County, which leverages every dollar donated into seven pounds of food for the neediest bellies in town.

Donating to these do-gooders, or any of the many assembled on the Gives! website, is easy. I picked five of my favorites to give to and completed the donation in about two minutes.

Even if it's just a couple bucks that still helps a given group compete for bonus funds for drawing the greatest number of donors (or donors under 35). Better yet, the Weekly is adding $100,000 in donations to match reader giving.