Wednesday December 26, 2012

Patrons and vendors of the Walpole Farmers Market raised about $350 worth of high-quality, nutrient-dense, locally-produced food for the Fall Mountain Food Shelf during a recent Buy One Give One campaign.

Some vendors offered the kind of special from which the campaign got its name. Their customers were invited to buy one item for themselves, and then buy a second item at a discount to give to the food shelf. Other vendors donated a cash amount based on the number of items sold or a percentage of total sales. Shoppers also made cash contributions. All cash collected was used to buy more food from market vendors, in many cases at a discount.

Jill Robinson, who facilitates the farmers market, said all the food filled the back of a Subaru and was really impressive to see.

"It went great. People responded really well," she said, adding that the idea popped up at the last minute in response to an expression of need at the food shelf. "I’m very happy, very pleased."

Mary Lou Huffling, lead coordinator of the food shelf, expressed her gratitude to the campaign.

"It was wonderful," she said. "We’re busier than ever."

She said she has worked with the food shelf for 33 years and has never seen so many people in need. She said it affects people of all ages, but mostly senior citizens. She blamed the sluggish economy for the spike in activity at the food shelf.


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Huffling said the food shelf receives no state or federal funding and relies on donations and local support. She said it feeds nearly 1,000 families a month and the organization just sent out 831 Christmas dinner boxes on Saturday.

According to the statement, the amount of donated food included 45 pounds of frozen meat, including ground beef, stew beef, chicken, bacon and sausages; 50 pounds of vegetables, including fresh greens, onions and other root crops; a dozen loaves of bread and pastries; and a couple wheels of cheese.

Holly Gowdy, a coordinator for the market, said this campaign was a win-win-win.

"It was a benefit to the food shelf at a time of special need, a benefit to the WFM vendors who saw increased sales, and a benefit to the shoppers who could make holiday donations while at the same time helping to support and sustain our family farms," she said.

The Walpole Farmers Market will hold monthly winter markets every third Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., January through April, 2013, in the Walpole Town Hall.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.