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(MILFORD, Del.) – This time every year the Food Bank of Delaware calls on farmers and gardeners to plant an extra row of produce for their food drive.

As warmer weather brings fresh fruits and vegetables, Ruth Ann Messick with the Food Bank of Delaware is hoping that people will plant an extra row in their garden this year to help feed those in need.

Messick says they’re accepting any fruits, vegetables, and produce. “Anything that somebody wants to plant and donate to us,” she says. 

The Food Bank accepts donations in Milford and Newark year rund but now through the harvest season, their Plant a Row drive helps ramp up that intake.

The Food Bank even grows produce at both of their locations. In Milford they’re planting an extra row themselves to help out with this drive.

“Our students here at our culinary school will usually harvest the things and we bring them in, they get weighed and put into the donations,” Messick explains. 

The gardeners are joined by farmers and local produce retailers in this drive. Charles Mullikin says he alwasy grows extra produce at Celtic Acres Farms in Frankford and donates it after the farmers market in Rehoboth.

“Usually at the end of the day, a lot of the vegetables we have left over, I’d rather donate and have people use them rather than throw them away,” says Mullikan.

Messick is hoping that farmers like Mullikan will give their surplus goods to this drive.

“You can tell when everybody’s harvesting their gardens because they’ll come in and they’ll come to any door that we have to drop off their produce,” Messick says. 

Last year the Food Bank gave away almost 2 million pounds of donated produce.

Messick says they hope to give back even more this year. “The only way we can do it is with the community’s help,” she says.