Sweet-Corn-KidVolunteers are needed to help pick sweet corn on a Jasper County farm later this month as part of an effort to give a summertime treat to central Iowans who are considered “food insecure.”

Cory Berkenes, executive director of the Iowa Food Bank Association, says an acre of sweet corn is being donated and helpers are needed to pluck the ears off the stalks.

“We’ll be going down row by row picking the sweet corn and bringing it back to the pile,” Berkenes says. “The Food Bank of Iowa truck will be there and they’ll take it back to Des Moines right away and distribute it that day or the next day.”

The plan is to pick a full acre of sweet corn, or about 500-dozen ears, which translates to 6,000 ears. “That will feed at least 500 families,” Berkenes says. “We anticipate each family will get a dozen. It’ll be a great reach in central Iowa for the families that do need it.”

In addition to helping feed the needy, volunteers will get the opportunity to learn about the corn-picking process, have breakfast and get a farm tour. The seed was donated by Monsanto and it was planted by Jacob and Emily Van Manen, owners of J-&-E’s Delicious Sweet Corn of Kellogg.

The day designated for picking is July 21st, rain or shine, and Berkenes says the volunteers will need to dress appropriately. “It would be best to wear pants and long sleeves because we’ll be working through the field,” Berkenes says. “Wear light colors and light clothes. Wear sunscreen. Wear bug spray.” This is the first time this project has been done and he hopes to expand the effort next year to feed more families.

To volunteer, send email to the following address, [email protected], or call (515) 288-3234.