Ithaca Rotary Club collaborates with Farmers Market, School District to bring fresh food to local tables

ImageThe Rotary Club of Ithaca is engaging in its 6th annual Rotary Harvest food collection during three weekends this summer. On Saturdays, August 18, August 25, and September 1, volunteers from the Ithaca Rotary Club will meet at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market to gather donated produce and other fresh foods to supplement selected families’ meals.

Heidi Goldstein conceived of the idea in 2007 when she had a booth at the Farmer’s Market. “Children are my passion and I wanted to do something that would directly affect their lives,” says Heidi. “This is very personal for me. This food distribution has a direct impact on our local children.”

Now in its 6th year, Rotary Harvest has served 28 families, including 104 children. The collaborative effort between the Ithaca Rotary Club, the Ithaca Farmer’s Market, and the Ithaca City School District provides fresh fruits and vegetables and other staples to families who participate in the pre-K meal program. Yet, for three weeks in late summer every year, the school program is unavailable. Rotary Harvest helps bridge that gap.

This year, five families – six adults and 20 children – will receive fresh food through Rotary Harvest. Five or six Rotarians meet at the Farmer’s Market Saturday morning, fill a wagon with fresh produce and bread donated by vendors, and then shop for meat, cereal, peanut butter, and other necessities. The volunteers then deliver the goods to the recipients’ homes.

The Rotary Club of Ithaca gathers every Wednesday for luncheon meetings held at the downtown Holiday Inn at noon. The public is welcome to attend to learn more about Rotary; cost is $12. Ithaca Rotary’s motto is “Service Above Self.” Membership is open to all community members who share in this belief; new members are accepted year-round.