Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ample Harvest Website Can Link Gardeners With Food Pantries.

[Editor's Note: The list on this page was later updated for 2011 in Plant a Row to Feed the Hungry By Donating Garden Produce to Food Pantries.]

Last week my friend Patrick directed me to a relatively new website for Ample Harvest. Like me, in late 2008, the creators of Ample Harvest wondered if there could not be a way to link gardeners with excess produce to food pantries which could distribute fresh produce to their clients. While I was motivated to research the list for this website of Central Ohio food pantries which accept garden produce (along with their hours of operation and addresses and other contact information), the Ample Harvest folks actually created software which permits food pantries to input their contact information into Ample Harvest's pretty website and lets gardeners do a national search for the food pantry closest to their zip code. Pretty cool. So far, the Mid-Ohio Food Bank is the only local food bank to register with Ample Harvest, though.

The Ample Harvest website also contained a link to the America’s Grow a Row program, which started when a church group began gleaning from nearby farms in order to benefit local food pantries. And here I thought gleaning went out of fashion during the Industrial Revolution . . . . . .

[Editor's note: In case you don't read the comments which following this posting, I am informed that Ample Harvest also has a new, free iPhone app. Being a cheap luddite, I cannot vouch for this myself since I rarely carry my own antique cell phone.]

For those who do not want to search any further for information about local pantries and shelters where you can donate garden produce in Central Ohio, just keep reading:

Lutheran Social Services Food Pantry. Go to the front door of 1460 South Champion Avenue to drop off the produce. (There’s also a dock at the side of the building where there will be less chance that you’ll be confused as a client and asked to wait in line). They have refrigerators available to store any excess.
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m and Saturdays 1-3pm. I also do not recommend stopping by during the lunch hour because the paid staff may be gone and you will be told to wait until they return or to come back later for a receipt.
Will take anything.
Sorting: Preferably sorted, but is not required. Is a good idea to weigh the produce beforehand if you want a receipt.
Provides tax receipts. Please have it weighed and have the donor’s name and address available in writing. It's quicker if you bring two copies so that they can keep one and you can take one. However, they have a copier there. They also like you to sign their donation book.
For more information: Call Manager Dave Drom or Assistant Manager Wayne at 443-5130.

Faith Mission. Donations can be made at two locations.
1) 599 East 8th Avenue near the fairgrounds. Go to the front door.
2) The Shelter at Long and Sixth Streets downtown. Turn left at the Lafayette Alley and knock on the first door on the left.
Hours: Monday – Sunday 8:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
Will take anything except pumpkins.
Sorting: Preferably sorted, but need not be bagged. Is a good idea to weigh the produce beforehand if you want a receipt.
Provides tax receipts. Please have it weighed and have the donor’s name and address available in writing. They have their own forms that they will want to fill out while you wait. They sometimes run out of receipt forms.
For more information: Ask for Mr. Taylor or any cook in the kitchen. Phone: 224-6617.

Salvation Army. 966 East Main Street, Columbus, Ohio 43205 This is the closest food pantry to the SACG that I know of. You should park on the side and go to the front door.
Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Will take anything.
Sorting: They prefer the items to be sorted/bagged by type.
Provides tax receipts at the front desk.
For more information, call Euri at 358-2626.

Community Kitchen. This is the first soup kitchen in Columbus. Donations can be made at the rear of the building at 640 South Ohio Street.
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Will take anything except eggplant, unusual herbs, peas, chard, and turnips. They prefer bulk amounts so that they can make a whole dish out of it. Smith Farms regularly donates food here.
Sorting: Preferably sorted, but need not be bagged.
Provides tax receipts.
For more information: Ask for Marilyn Oberting at 252 6428. Check out their website at http://www.thecommunitykitchen.com/.

Holy Name Soup Kitchen. Donations can be made at 57 South Grubb Street (off West Broad Street). Go to the front door. There is a blue cart by the door.
Hours: Monday – Friday 6:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. You may need to pound on the door after 12:30 because that’s when the doors are locked.
Will take anything.
Sorting: Not necessary.
Provides tax receipts. Can be provided if you wait or it will be mailed to you (if you provide names and addresses).
For more information: Phone: 224-6617. Rumor has it that Holy Name is currently serving 1400 lunches each day.

Mid-Ohio Food Bank. Donations can be made at its new location at 3960 Brookham Drive in Grove City. Take I-71 South to the Stringtown Road/Exit 100 and turn right. Take the very first right onto Marlanne Drive. You will pass Brookham Drive to the left and then turn left past the large Agency sign. Pull up to the four garage doors and go into the regular/entry door to the left of those doors to tell them that you have a produce donation. They will help you unload your car, weigh your produce and give you a receipt.
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Will take anything.
Sorting: Not necessary, but they prefer that the food be delivered in banana boxes (which you can get from your friendly local grocer) or empty copy paper boxes.
Provides tax receipts. MOFB will weigh your donation on the spot and give you a receipt.
For more information: Call Lori Coleman at 274-7770.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Center. This is a food pantry at 441 Industry Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43204. This is a little tricky because there is no street sign. It is located in the Valley View Commerce Park of office buildings. It is a one-story, long white building across the street from the ODFJS West Opportunity Center.
Hours: Wednesday– Thursday 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays: 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Will take anything.
Sorting: Preferably sorted and bagged separately.
Provides tax receipts. You’ll have to fill out the receipt yourself, so it would be a good idea to weigh your produce before dropping it off.
For more information or to schedule a drop-off: Call Lucy Cormier at 340-7061. The population served by the Center is mostly Latino and Hispanic.

LifeCare Alliance a/k/a Meals on Wheels a/k/a Groceries To Go a/k/a Cancer Clinic a/k/a Project Open Hand. Life Care Alliance has recently consolidated the food pantry operations of the Cancer Clinic and Project Open Hand. It also runs Congregational Dining Centers and Carrie’s CafĂ© for ambulatory senior citizens (who do not yet need meals on wheels). Donations can be made 670 Harmon Avenue. Use the pantry entrance between the two handicapped parking spaces. It’s best to call ahead.
Hours: Monday, Wednesday – Friday 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Will take anything.
Sorting: Not necessary, but helpful and they prefer that it be washed
Provides tax receipts. Will mail receipts. At drop off, donations should be identified by donor's name and address, product being donated and weight of each product.
For more information: Contact Shelly Wojtylko, the Groceries To Go Coordinator for LifeCare Alliance. She works at 670 Harmon Avenue, Columbus, OH 43223 and can be reached at swojtylk@lifecarealliance.org or 614-298-8334.

South Side Settlement House. 310 Innis Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43207
Hours: Monday – Thursday 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Will take anything, except lettuce, pumpkins, chard and radishes
Sorting: Preferably sorted, bagged and washed, but is not required.
Provides tax receipts. Please have donors names available and receipts will be provided upon request on the spot.
For more information: Call Dorothy McKay at 444-9868. http://www.southsidesettlement.org/

NNEMAP Food Pantry. 1064 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio. (In the Short North. In an abandonned Church at the corner of High and Third. It is in the basement of the same building of Directions for Youth. When coming from the parking lot, you will take the door to the basement which does not have a number or butterfly on it. There is a white bell which you can ring for assistance).
Hours: Monthly 1st-20th: M-W-F 8:45 a.m. - noon. Monthly 20th-31st: M-F 8:45 a.m. - noon.
Will Take: anything.
Sorted: Not necessary
Provides tax receipts: Upon request. Please have value ready to be inserted.
For more information: Call Yvonne at 297-0533.

This list is not exhaustive and will be updated as additional information is provided. Feel free to let me know if you have information about other organizations which take garden produce and I will add them.


  1. Thanks for listing the LSS Food Pantry and Faith Mission. We appreciate all the fresh fruits and vegetables donated by our caring neighbors. They truely make a difference in the lives of our clients.

  2. Great writeup on AmpleHarvest.org.

    Two things you did not mention...
    1. They have a really cool iPhone app (its free)
    2. They are asking people nationwide to help local food pantries signup. If your church as a pantry, badger them to register.

  3. Please help more gardeners learn about AmpleHarvest.org by posting the flier at http://www.ampleharvest.org/InformingTheGardener.php at your local garden shop, supermarket, etc.

    America has an estimated 43 million gardeners growing food. Lets let them know they can help diminish hunger in their communities.

  4. Since this post was written, more than two dozen additional food pantries in Ohio have been registered at AmpleHarvest.org.

    All told, more than 1,560 food pantries across the country are now on AmpleHarvest.org, with more registering every day.

    What about the one in your community?

  5. I have recently started a blog, the info you provide on this site has helped me greatly. Thanks  for all of your time & work.  
    Guildford gardener