The Earth 2 Mouth program is a community service opportunity that connects local food producers and soup kitchens in an end-to-end volunteer experience.
“Many years ago, I wanted to teach suburban kids in religious education classes that “Feeding the Hungry” was more than tossing canned goods into a box. Taking them to the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room, they met the needy face to face and it changed them. More recently, Stew Ritchie of Native Offerings, a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm in East Otto, NY, shared with me his vision of reconnecting people with their food source — instead of seeing it as coming from a can in a store. “Earth 2 Mouth” is a combining of these two ideas, bringing a deep awareness of the real effort and benefit to feeding the hungry.”
– Ken Stuczynski
How It Works
Many local farms are short on labor. In exchange for 3-5 hours of work by a group of volunteers, farms give volunteers produce, which then can be written off on taxes as a donation to the food pantry or soup kitchen.
Students and citizens alike are looking for volunteer opportunities, including those looking to fulfill service hours requirements. They get the experience of working in the fresh air on a farm and helping their neighbors where the need is greatest.
Places that prepare and serve the poor are always in need of food and volunteers. This is the hands-on fulfillment of the days work, where people can actually serve others wholesome, fresh food they may have picked themselves.
Years ago, we piloted the program with volunteers from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Amherst, coordinated by Seminarian Michelle George. They worked at Native Offerings Farm, bringing and preparing the bounty to the clients of Friends of Night People in Allentown (Buffalo). We have rarely ran the program since due to constraints on the people involved.
If there is a larger interest in the program, we would look to establish a database of participating farms, volunteer groups, and places to serve food to the poor. If you or your organization has any interest in participating in the program, please contact Ken Stuczynski at 716-868-1329 or ken [at] otherflock [dot] org.