Great Park Donates a Million Pounds of Produce to Local Food Banks
IRVINE, Calif., May 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Orange County Great Park leaders and local area farmers gathered at the Great Park Farm and Food Lab today to announce reaching the milestone of donating more than one million pounds of fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables to the Second Harvest Food Bank and Orange County Food Bank.
The donations were made through the Park without Borders program, a partnership between the Great Park and local area farmers to donate surplus crops to area food banks. OC Produce LLC, operator of the 114-acre Great Park Farm, is the largest contributor to this program, which began in May 2008.
“Farmers in and near the Great Park have banded together to provide fresh produce to the County’s hungry,” said A.G. Kawamura, founding partner of OC Produce LLC and former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. “Providing fresh produce to supplement the non-perishable goods from the community is critical to maintaining the good health of the community.”
The event also promoted the upcoming National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive, the nation’s largest single day food drive. The drive encourages the community to leave a bag of non-perishable foods next to their mailbox prior to the time of regular mail delivery on Saturday, May 14th for their letter carrier to pick up.
“While our Park without Borders program has reached a milestone, it is important to remember that a million pounds of food is a drop in the bucket,” said Beth Krom, Chair, Orange County Great Park Corporation. “We especially thank all our local farmers who contributed to the effort and now challenge everyone in the community to join the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive by leaving non-perishable food items near their mailbox before the mail delivery on Saturday.”
Joining in the announcement were Allan Price, President, Orange County Farm Bureau; Mark Lowry, Director, OC Food Bank; Paula Miller, National Association of Letter Carriers, Branch 2168; and Jerry Creekpaum, General Manager, Second Harvest Food Bank.
“On behalf of Orange County’s food banks, I say ‘thanks a million’ to the Great Park,” said Creekpaum. “One million pounds of food equals 769,231 meals for needy families, but that is just one month of supply for our food bank.”
Second Harvest Food Bank goes through more than 72 million pounds of food per year, and estimates that more than 615,000 individuals are at risk of hunger each month in Orange County. The majority of people at risk of going hungry each month are children and single parents, seniors and other men and women confronted by financial difficulty or who are physically unable to earn a living.
Summer is an especially critical time to support food banks. Thousands of children who receive meals at school thought the school year must rely on food banks during the summer months. That is why the continued support from local farmers and the public is so very important.
“I like to call the Great Park ‘the park with a heart’,” said Lowry. “The National Letter Carriers Association is making it easy for the entire community to have a heart this Saturday and donate a bag of food to help ‘Stamp Out Hunger’.”
About the Great Park
The Orange County Great Park, with its 1,347-acre master plan, is the focal point of the redevelopment of the publicly-owned portion of the 4,700-acre former Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro. The Great Park is currently 27.5 acres and includes an iconic tethered helium balloon that rises 400 feet in the air, providing an aerial view of Park development. A $70 million development plan to expand the Park to more than 200 acres is currently underway. The plan will build out a core section of the Park for the most immediate and wide-ranging public benefit, including the initial components of the sports park, a 114-acre agricultural area, and an art and culture exhibition space. For more information, please go to www.ocgp.org
SOURCE Orange County Great Park