By Laura Wright–
If you were around anywhere last week you might have seen, eaten or prepared pears. Yes, pears. There was an over abundance of pears in the upper Susitna Valley courtesy of the Sunshine and Trapper Creek Food Banks.
Food Bank volunteer, Nancy Ebner said that four totes of pears (over 3200 pounds) were delivered to the food bank. After dispersing them to the 150 families that use the food bank, the pears were available to the community at large. Ebner did not know why so many pears came to Alaska in the first place but was happy to find homes for them. Since then she taught her daughter how to can pears and has sampled dried pears, pear tart and pear cobbler made by the many pear recipients.
Ebner said they don’t often have large quantities of fresh food to deal with but are happy when they do…even when it is a lot. They try to offer wholesome food; whole grain breads, low sodium items and fresh vegetables, whenever possible. Ebner said that if people have extra vegetables in their gardens, they are welcome to bring them by the Sunshine Food bank located on Walsted Road next door to Sunshine Community Health Center on Tuesday mornings at 10:00 AM.
Ebner said she is looking forward to working with Steve Harrsion and the newly formed Moose Club at Su Valley High School. Students will be butchering and processing road-killed moose this winter for those in need. She said protein is difficult and expensive to obtain and they are always in need.
The food bank currently has 1,218 pounds of cabbage and will be receiving 1000 pounds of carrots soon. Like the pears, the cabbage is now available to anybody; there is a tote located in front of the Sunshine food bank in Talkeetna.
Ebner said that because of the recent cuts in the federal farm bill they expect a trickle down effect that the food bank will feel. In addition, corporate sponsorship has lessened and some of their grants did not come through. The food bank is able to buy food through the Food Bank of Alaska program for 16 cents per pound, so when monetary donations are given it can go a long way.
Ebner said they have some amazing volunteers that make things happen. Linda and Gary Peters regularly donate transporting large quantities of food from Anchorage. Carol Carole volunteers to shop at the food bank warehouse in Anchorage providing her own truck and fuel to do so. Many area businesses and restaurants regularly donate to the food bank and that is a big help.
In Trapper Creek, the food bank is located at the Lutheran Church, mile 1.5 of Petersville Road. It is open the second and fourth Tuesday of the The Sunshine Food Bank is open every Tuesday from 10 to 4 pm.
To volunteer, donate food or receive food, stop by the Sunshine Food Bank on Tuesdays or call Nancy Ebner at 715-7710.