Church Community Services' Seed to Feed program calls on agencies to pick up watermelons

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By: Danielle Waldron
dwaldron@flavor574.com

Sarah Welliver/Flavor 574

When life gives you a few thousand watermelons, you call on groups in the community to help get them to people who need them. 

A Niles, Mich., farmer recently donated a mountain of watermelon to Seed to Feed, co-coordinator Natasha Weisenbeck said. Now she’s asking churches, food pantries and other larger organizations to take what they need. 

“The reason we got such a large harvest was because the farmer was trying a different strain,” she told Flavor 574. “Because of the cold winter nights, the flesh wasn’t as smooth as it normally is … and don’t rank to be market competitive. The ones we have opened and checked out are absolutely wonderful.” 

People here want to move mountains. Well, we have a mountain of melons!

The farmer donated about 140 pallets of watermelon, each of which holds one large bin (or “gaylord”) of melons. That’s about 50 melons (about 700 pounds) per bin, she said. The farmer was interested in the mission at Church Community Services, Weisenbeck said, and delivered the stockpile.

It’s a chance for CCS to reconnect with local agencies, she said.

“We have all of this watermelon and people can see all of this produce we are getting,” she said. “It’s a chance for us to talk about how we can still serve people.” 

Early this summer, Food Bank of Northern Indiana, based on South Bend, took over distribution for Elkhart County, according to Elkhart Truth reporting. Before that, CCS was responsible for collecting and distributing food to pantries in Elkhart County. 

“The thing with the food bank hit us from the side and we didn’t know how to process that,” Weisenbeck said. “We still knew people cared about our mission. … not as many people were coming this direction because this wasn’t a one-stop-shop for them anymore.” 

The melons need to be distributed within the next 10 or so days, Weisenbeck said. She said people in the community should tell local food pantries and churches about the supply rather than a family coming in to pick up a melon or two. 

We have melons! help us connect with those who need melons! See the post below.

Posted by Church Community Services on Friday, August 21, 2015

“It’s better for us to be able to get a more efficient flow to other places,” she said. “Agencies help us and focus on handing out in their own neighborhoods.” 

Any agency interested in grabbing a pallet of watermelon is asked to arrange their own pickup. 

“It really shows the spirit of Elkhart and the people we are working with,” she said. “People here want to move mountains. Well, we have a mountain of melons!” 

Anyone with questions or to arrange a pickup time should email seedtofeed@churchcommunityservices.org or call 574-295-3673. 

Follow editor Danielle Waldron on Twitter @DanielleWaldron
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