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Web letter by Rita M. Fleckenstein: Volunteer at food bank to understand their array of services

Thank you Community Harvest Food Bank for all you do for the poor locally and in our surrounding communities to help them supplement their food supply through your various programs.

These programs are not meant to take care of all these people’s food problems but to help them over rough spots that can happen to anyone through no fault of their own.

I have been a volunteer for the SeniorPak program for 20 years.

Donna Mettert (“Auburn slighted by food bank offerings,” July 7) says the Heimach Center in Auburn does not receive any canned goods, meat or fresh vegetables. What she does not say is that the Heimach Center is in the Farm Wagon Program. This program consists of nine refrigerated trucks that deliver perishable products (meat, dairy and vegetables) only when available.

These trucks deliver to nine counties in northeast Indiana five days a week, with a total of 81 stops a month. They must maintain a delivery schedule like any delivery service. These stops are scheduled in advance so they can cover as much territory as possible while in a designated area.

As for fresh vegetables, these items are donated by local grocery chains in our area and distributed as soon as possible by our trucks. Canned goods are not carried in refrigerated trucks.

In summer the food bank is fortunate to receive donations from local farmers during the growing season. These farmers are thoughtful enough to donate their excess produce rather than throw it away.

I am sure Mettert must realize that fresh vegetables have a very short shelf life and cannot be held for long periods of time. Community Harvest has a time limit of five days to deliver these items. They would never intentionally distribute inedible food. This past fiscal year, which ended June 30, the food bank processed and distributed 2,415,979 pounds of food. That is a lot of food.

I would like to invite Mettert to become a volunteer at the food bank, then she might have a better understanding how they function. They are always in need and welcome new volunteers.

RITA M. FLECKENSTEIN

Fort Wayne

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