What Makes Us Unique
What makes Out of the Garden Project unique?
We believe we are unique not only because we are the largest agency of our kind providing more than 1500 bags of food each weekend to students and families at over 60 elementary, middle and high schools in the Piedmont Triad, but we also have 22 fresh mobile markets that we take out each month to areas of Guilford County in need and distribute food.
We are often asked what is the difference between our project and other backpack programs. While we all provide food in some form through the child’s backpack, what is provided with OOTGP is very distinct.
All of Out of the Garden Project’s food for “Operation Backpack,” is collected, sorted, packaged and delivered from our warehouse in the rear of the Church on 68 at 300 NC Highway 68 South right here in Greensboro. We package two individual meals for a family of four to eat over the weekend in addition to snacks for the child (6-7 lbs.). A typical bag will include pasta, pasta sauce, rice, kidney beans, corn and mixed vegetables, plus a snack pack. In 2012 we distributed more than 100 tons of food to school children and their families through “Operation Backpack.”
Often-times when people speak of the “backpack program” they are referring to Feeding America’s individual bag of food that is packaged in Tennessee and shipped locally through Second Harvest Food Bank in Winston Salem where local organizations purchase and pick up the food and then distribute these bags to schools. This bag of food is considered to be for the individual child and typically contains roughly 3 pounds of food including two juice boxes, two shelf-stable milks, cereal, mac & cheese and individual beef stew or a fruit cup for the child to have over the weekend. We are very familiar with these bags because in the summer of 2012, we were selected as Second Harvests Guilford County representative to pass out 5000 of their bags to children in Guilford County. When we asked the Guilford County representative why they selected us rather than an agency which uses their bags, their response was that we have a much greater reach in the Piedmont than any other organization providing backpacks.
Fresh Mobile Markets
We also are the only organization in the Piedmont who operates 22 “Fresh Mobile Markets” in addition to our “Operation Backpack.” We take out food to food deserts (locations where there are no grocery store options) in Guilford County and pass out 65+ pounds of food each to families in need. This food includes fresh produce, meat, and bread in addition to canned food and staple items. We generally go to a school we know is in need and ask that a connect ed. announcement be sent over the phone informing people about the free food. Everyone who comes must fill out a form and qualify by their income. We currently serve more than 2,000 additional individuals each month through our Fresh Mobile Markets.
Food Reclamation Initiative
*New* Unserved food from school cafeterias will be used to provide free evening meals to children at Greensboro Recreation sites and the new Caldcleugh Boys and Girls Club site. This will also save nearly 300,000 pounds of food from our landfill. Volunteers are needed to pick up food donations as well as to help package the food for distribution. For more information on how you can help, email Rebecca at email@example.com.
Volunteers are the life-blood of the OOTGP. What we believe sets our organization apart as much as anything are the relationships formed by the 400-600 volunteers we have each month who come out to our warehouse to help sort, pack and deliver our food bags each weekend. We believe the transformation of our volunteers is as important as the transformation the food provides for the families we serve. The community that has been built through our volunteers and their never-ending service has been amazing.
We believe that the biggest difference OOTGP makes in the Piedmont Triad is through our volunteers and the transformation that occurs in their lives and in the lives of those they serve. While we are clearly a food assistance program, that is not our only goal. Our goal is to provide some nutrition on the weekend so children can learn at the same rate as their peers on Monday morning and become the person their creator intended them to be. Our desire is that you will join us in our goal to provide food and hope for every child.
Become a volunteer!
To volunteer for Operation Backpack or Fresh Mobile Markets, email Nikki at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers are needed to pick up food donations from various grocery stores in Greensboro and High Point between the hours of 10:00 am and 12:00 noon and bring them to the warehouse. Generally, these pickups involve 1-6 boxes of food. If you’re interested in volunteering contact Rebecca at email@example.com.
Groups and individual volunteers are needed now to pick up and deliver food through the Food Reclamation Initiative. For more information, contact Rebecca at firstname.lastname@example.org.