The Plant a Row/Grow a Row program has been enjoying a surge in donations in recent weeks as the warm weather improves growing conditions.
Each week, volunteers accept donations of fruits and veggies that are then donated to the New Westminster Food Bank. The idea is that gardeners are encouraged to grow an extra row of produce to donate to the cause - but store-bought produce is also appreciated.
Claude LeDoux, a New Westminster resident and the City of New Westminster's horticulturist, coordinates the program that's been offered for 13 years in the Royal City.
"It's been a slow season in general until the weather warmed up and things started to mature," he said. "Now things are really picking up."
Lettuce, kale, broccoli, zucchini, squash, tomatoes and apples are among the donations that have been received this year.
"There was a wide range of vegetables," LeDoux said about the most-recent collections. "That is great."
LeDoux is pleased that the program continues to attract donations from new donors, including a Coquitlam gardener who read about the program in a West Coast Seeds newsletter, a community garden in Burnaby and a Can You Dig It garden tended by people with developmental disabilities. The contributions from all donors are much appreciated by the New Westminster Food Bank.
"They are thrilled to death with the fresh food," LeDoux said about the food bank. "People are so happy. We bring different things that they don't get in their bag of groceries. The fresh food makes a difference."
Donations will be accepted on Sunday mornings until Oct. 14, between 9: 30 and 10 a.m. at the front entrance to St. Thomas More Collegiate at 7450 12th Ave. in Burnaby - just across the New West border.
If people have more donations for the program after Oct. 14, LeDoux suggested they call the school at 6045211801 and ask if a late-season pickup can be arranged.