The Journal Gazette
Sunday, July 18, 2021 1:00 am

Food giveaway program has new partner

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

Another series of food box giveaways organized by the Human Agricultural Cooperative began operations Saturday with 10,000 pounds of food stacked up outside the Utopian Community Grocery on Oxford Street. 

Although Ty Simmons, the cooperative's executive director, has partnered with the federal government and local businesses this past year, the current string of 12 Saturday giveaways was put together with Partnership for a Healthier America, a nonprofit organizations that works with corporations, universities and other nonprofits “to transform the food landscape in pursuit of health equity,” according to its website. 

Michelle Obama introduced her “Let's Move!” initiative through the partnership, Simmons said, and continues to be a force with the program. 

The Saturday events are expected to continue through the end of September and will sometimes include Big Momma's Kitchen, Simmons said. 

Saturday recipients were encouraged to sign up online for the free food boxes before they arrived. Inside Saturday's boxes were kale, apples, oranges, sweet potatoes and onions along with a kale recipe in English and Spanish. 

Spencier Witch, who works in restaurants and in an office, volunteered for the first time Saturday, helping hoist food boxes into vehicles and car trunks. 

Living in the 46805 ZIP code, Witch said she's aware of local needs every time she passes a nearby community pantry and nearly always sees someone using them. The community pantries are set up outside local businesses in Allen County. 

“Sometimes they're empty. I try to help stock them when I can,” Witch said. 

A group of volunteers from Lakeside Middle School and North Side High School that volunteered Saturday said they also saw a need in their school communities.

“I see it every day,” Letterieus Gibson said. “You can tell some of them need help,” he added. 

Javen Shears, a Lakeside student, said the need was “horrible.” Randall Magee, also from Lakeside, said extra clothing is needed. Judah Kaufman and Zion Gibson, from Lakeside, were also volunteers. 

Simmons oversees a student farming program on land next to Fellowship Missionary Church on Tillman Road. He would like to see a day when the community garden and greenhouse could supply residents of the 46803 and 46806 ZIP codes on the southeast side of Fort Wayne where food deserts occur. 

To donate to the food giveaways, contact

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