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Harvest for Hunger Collects 140 Tons of Produce, Surpassing 2011 Goal

Master Gardners feed hungry; photo by Edwin RemsbergAfter receiving and updating final totals for this year’s Harvest for Hunger campaign, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension gardening program coordinator says volunteer gardeners around the state donated more than 140 tons of garden produce to charity.

“Thanks to everyone’s effort, we have exceeded our goal of 250,000 pounds,” says Extension educator Barbara Murphy in the South Paris Oxford County office. “I am speechless. My heartfelt thanks for all of the terrific work.”

Murphy, who coordinates the program, had announced her gratitude several weeks ago that preliminary results indicated 90 tons — 180,000 pounds — of fresh fruits and vegetables were donated this year. The final figure is now 140 tons, or 280,076 pounds.

Nearly 500 volunteer gardeners in about a dozen counties this year donated produce to 114 food pantries, shelters or charitable organizations around the state. Murphy also revised upwards the value of the produce to $473,328, from $303,713 earlier.

The number of participants more than doubled from 200 in 2010 and the number of organizations benefiting from the gardeners’ generosity more than tripled, from 45 last year.

Contact: Barbara Murphy, 743-6329, 1-800-287-1482 (toll-free in Maine)

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