GAYS MILLS - It was a beautiful, if somewhat steamy, day on Friday, Sept. 15, when about 20 individuals of all ages from Community Hunger Solutions (CHS) in Viroqua gathered at the Turkey Ridge Organic Orchard for their annual charity apple harvest.
“Community Hunger Solutions is a project of the Vernon Economic Development Association,” Daniel Chotzen explained. “The apples we pick today will be distributed to local food pantries.”
CHS serves those facing food insecurity in the area, farmers, food pantries and food banks, people with varying ability and seniors in the community.
CHS coordinates sourcing and delivery of healthy meals to over 70,000 people in need with nutritious food that otherwise would have gone to waste.
The organization offers local farmers an opportunity to market their “seconds” produce, allowing this healthy food to be provided to area food pantries for distribution to those in need.
CHS provides distribution of fresh produce to local food pantries and regional food banks. CHS also provides pantries with the educational support needed to encourage healthy eating.
The non-profit provides people with varying abilities needed job and integration skills through harvesting and processing of fresh produce.
Approximately 1/3 or 23,000 of the 70,000 individuals CHS serves are over 60 years of age. In addition, another 150 seniors at five local residential centers receive free deliveries of fresh produce.
Sixth annual event
This year marks the sixth year that the Turkey Ridge Organic Orchard, and their staff have worked with volunteers from CHS to harvest apples and distribute them to needy members of the community.
“We are very grateful to Greg and Faye Welsh of Turkey Ridge for volunteering their produce and their picking staff to provide this high quality food to members of our community in need,” Chotzen said. “We always enjoy coming out to pick the apples, and the people we serve are always very grateful to get them.”