The bounty of American farms is coming to Fort Wayne on Saturday in the shape of 1,400 food boxes, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's program to divert food that would have been shipped to restaurants and large-scale food operations to people in need.
The federal Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program was announced in mid-April to stave off waste of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and meat products and pack them into boxes of 20 and 25 pounds.
Ty Simmons, executive director of the Human Agricultural Cooperative, has organized the delivery of boxes that will contain 20 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Simmons is part of a group of farmers from Evansville; Gary, Chicago; Indianapolis; and Louisville, Kentucky, who have tapped into the federal project addressing people in need who live in food deserts, said John Jamerson, project director of Legacy Taste of the Garden in Lyles Station in southwest Indiana.
The delivery amounts to 28,000 pounds of food. “That's like $56,000,” Simmons said.
Simmons has spent the week lining up organizations to receive pallets of food boxes for distribution starting Saturday morning. Heartland Communities Inc. on North Coliseum Boulevard will help deliver the food, Simmons said.
Jain Young, administrator at Heartland Communities, said her nonprofit is supporting the program but hopes to find funding that will pay for drivers and equipment.
Sweetwater Inc. has been an ongoing donor.
Nonprofits scheduled for pickup or delivery include the local NAACP, Faith United Methodist Church, Come As You Are Community Church, HoJo Family Assistance Inc., Joshua's Hands, Adams Township trustee's office/Girlz Rock, Boys and Girls Club of Fort Wayne, Pilgrim Baptist Church, and Courageous Healing.
About 500 boxes of food will be given away at the Utopian Community Grocery at 608 Oxford St. on the south side of Fort Wayne. Simmons is the co-founder of the grocery store.
Simmons said the Human Agricultural Cooperative is still asking for financial contributions to buy additional food and donations of hand sanitizer, gloves and masks.
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