Thurston County Food Bank distributed thousands of plant starts during spring and early summer of 2011. Other TCFB programs like the school garden project have plant starts grown for them, but the gleaning program received excess donations from growers. Use this opportunity to introduce yourself to potential donors.
1) Contact both existing and new agricultural donors early in the season. Tell them that your organization accepts plant starts. Let farmers know they are eligible for a tax deductible receipt when donating to a 501(c)3.
2) Check in several times with growers during spring and early summer. Often growers are excited that the excess starts are not going to waste and enjoy the reminder.
3) When you pick up the starts talk about your gleaning project and how they can get involved.
4) Be sure to water the plants at least every couple of days. Water in the evening so they are not wet during distribution
5) Create informational sheets on the specific plant's needs like soil type, amount of sun, water, fertilizer, and planting instructions. Also include information on when the plant is ready for harvest. Optionally you could put up a sign with the name of the donor’s business as a way of recognizing them.
6) The starts should be the last thing the clients receive before leaving the food bank so they are not damaged through the process of going through the line.
Thurston County Food Bank (TCFB) is located in Olympia, WA. Established by volunteers in 1965, TCFB has continued to grow since that time. TCFB reaches the community through a variety of services; food bank distribution, satellite location distribution, FORKids, mobile food bank sites, and summer lunch program. TCFB utilized 7800 volunteers who donated 50,379 hours this past year. Thurston County Food Bank has a large presence in the Thurston County community, serving 57,234 clients in 2014.