Spending hours of her Friday night helping to collect 43,000 lbs of potatoes after a truck carrying them turned over was an easy choice for Feed Evansville chair Lisa Vaughan.
Because although the goods were considered commercially damaged -- even though they never left their crates -- they were still perfectly safe and necessary to help fill the bellies of hungry tri-state families.
"The Feed Evansville program is really important during this unprecedented time of having Covid-19,” Vaughan said. “Because there are different ripple effects that happen."
And while they have been serving financially struggling families since last March with a weekly food share at Hartke Pool in Evansville, the USDA Farmers to Families money that supported their program, ended in December and they may not get a new influx until next month.
This has left Feed Evansville with a small gap of being unable to host the drive-thrus -- which many people are relying on for the first time.
"We know that fifty five percent of people coming through the Hartke line have never needed food assistance prior to March,” Vaughan said.
But with Feed Evansville’s new Shop Local, Give Local Campaign, in which they are partnering with businesses to collect non-perishable items, Vaughan plans to be able to pick back up with a giveaway on Wednesday, Jan. 13th.
"Businesses -- just like the food insecurity problem -- have been hit very hard by the Covid-19 shutdown,” Vaughan said.
And it is really a win-win for Feed Evansville and local businesses, like River City Coffee + Goods, on Main Street, where people are picking up coffee and then dropping off canned goods.
"All of the people behind small businesses have such passion,” said patron Sophia Fredrickson. “And talent to bring quality to their clients and communities and it's really important to support them."
So far, twenty businesses are participating in the campaign.
"We've already seen businesses that have filled the entire box already,” Vaughan said. “So, we're really excited."
Vaughan plans to collect the donations on Tuesday and hand out groceries to families from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday at Hartke pool.