A central Iowa charity’s kicked off its second annual “Harvest of Hope,” seeking donations of food for Hope Ministries. A Des Moines mission for homeless men and a rehabilitation program operated by Hope Ministries served 150-thousand meals last year, and spokesman Keith Isley says they’d appreciate donations besides the usual canned goods.He says this is the month gardens produce big returns, many with more abundance than the gardener can use, and there’s a good use for the extra tomatoes, squash or other foods. Isley says they’d be happy to have it, and can refrigerate the food to keep it fresh and put it to good use. Typically, more than 400 meals each day are served to homeless and needy people by Hope Ministries.They’d take canned food too but during this month want people to think about their fresh garden harvest or any extra they’ve bought at a farmer’s market. Many clients of the mission struggle to eat a healthy diet and this is a great addition to their menu. Isley says institutions, agencies and meeting places can also donate prepared foods like wrapped sandwiches that weren’t all eaten at meetings. Men working their way out of homelessness doing spot labor can take a lunch packed for them at the mission. During the month of September, Hope ministries is hoping to collect enough donations of food to take them through the holidays and much of the spring. Isley says in other communities around Iowa, gardeners with an overabundance of produce can contact churches or local social-service agencies to find local charities to donate the food to.
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