More than 3,200 lbs of fresh fruits and vegetables-- That's what Mark Mason of Portage County was able to donate to the Stevens Point Salvation Army last year. The donation surpassed his donation goal by nearly 1,200 lbs.
Mason has been operating his 'Giving Garden' for several years at his rural Stevens Point home. The idea for the garden came about as Mason was doing volunteer work through his job at Ministry Healthcare. He noticed a lack of resources when it came to fruits and veggies. And that's when he jumped into action.
Mason doesn't donate his extra produce. He donates all of it. Yes, everything that he harvests in the garden goes straight to food pantries. “I bring in pails, bags and boxes of food and put them into coolers. If there's an overabundance, they will contact Operation Bootstrap or other or pantries so the food doesn't go to waste,” explained Mason of his frequent contributions.
"I just sort of worked on an idea to try and provide fresh excellent nutrition or people that otherwise could afford it. So, that's what you see here. It's kind of the latest version of the giving garden."
Here's a snapshot of Mason's vegetable donations in 2013:
· 690 pounds of zucchini
· 910 pounds of cucumbers and pickles
· 1,106 pounds of tomatoes
· 169 pounds of green beans
· 55 pounds of broccoli
· 277 pounds of squash
· 1,038 pounds of pumpkins
· 290 pounds of corn
· 100 pounds of carrots
· 120 pounds of beets
· 332 pounds of honeydew melons
· 144 pounds of watermelons
· 91 pounds of peppers
· 37 pounds of kohlrabi
· 80 pounds of miscellaneous vegetables - onions, peas, etc.
Mason said the kids at the shelters love the honeydew melons and watermelon. He also makes sure that every child receives a pumpkin.
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