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New West and Burnaby food program accepting fresh produce donations

Here’s how you can help ensure New West and Burnaby families and folks in need have access to fresh produce
Claude LeDoux - April 2022
Claude LeDoux, shown here with some of the giveaways offered to folks at this spring's launch of this year's Plant A Row - Grow a Row program, invites folks to donate produce to the program.

Families and folks in need are enjoying fresh fruits and veggies courtesy of their fellow community members.

Each year, the Plant a Row – Grow a Row program invites New West and Burnaby residents to plant an extra row of vegetables in their garden and donate them to the program, which then donates the fresh produce to the Union Gospel Mission in New Westminster and to the Ryan’s Rainbow charity.

Alternatively, residents can purchase some extra produce at the grocery store and drop it off at the weekly collection event.

“It’s been going well,” said Claude LeDoux, coordinator of the local program. “We have had some really good collections. We are just reminding folks to come.”

Spaghetti squash, zucchini, kale and lettuce are among the items that have been donated to the program so far this summer.

LeDoux said the UGM uses the donations in two ways. Some produce is used in lunches that are prepared for people visiting the mission and some is used for a training program that teaches people to cook as a way of helping them to get jobs in the field.

Ryan’s Rainbow, an emergency food outreach program in Burnaby, provides fresh produce to families each week.

“They're just completely thrilled at the diversity of the products that we're sending,” LeDoux said. “They're doing about 180 families. They do a box for a family, so they are ecstatic.”

If people want to support the program but don’t have a garden, the program also accepts donations of store-bought produce and non-perishable food items.

“Everything is being used,” LeDoux said.

Plant a Row – Grow a Row volunteers will be collecting donations of fresh produce and non-perishable food items every Sunday until Oct. 2. When people are dropping off donations, they’ll also receive a yummy fresh, homemade scone baked up by one of the program’s volunteers.

Collections take place on Sundays from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. at the front entrance to St. Thomas More Collegiate, 7450 12th Ave. in Burnaby.

Follow Theresa McManus on Twitter @TheresaMcManus