Quincy, MA – «Sustainability», «Green» and «Renewable» are all buzz words these days, in addition to more negative words like «Recession», «Depression» and «Unemployment». As different as these two topics seem they are coming together at a nonprofit on the South Shore. In an effort to help those suffering from the current economic situation, as well as supporting local agriculture, Interfaith Social Services has initiated a Produce Appeal. They are asking all «backyard gardeners» to think of their hungry neighbors as the harvest season approaches, and donate a portion of their crops to help those in need.

One of the initiatives of the «green» movement is a shift toward local agriculture. Environmentalists argue that locally grown food is better for the environment because it doesn’t have to be shipped as far and consequently less pollution is generated in transporting it to consumers. Interfaith Social Services is a «local» nonprofit that distributes hundreds of thousands of pounds of food to area families ever year.

Bettyanne Lang, the food pantry manager says «Much of our food comes from community donations, which are primarily non-perishable items. We have found that when we are able to hand our clients a bag of produce their face brightens up, fresh food is something that many of them just can’t afford to buy.» Ms. Lang went on to say, «Not only does it help the clients, it helps the volunteers. They feel much better handing out healthy options.»

«People are delighted to see produce,» says Rosemary Arthur a pantry volunteer from Hingham «they are grateful for all of the food that they receive, but produce is obviously a treat.»

Since 1975 Interfaith Social Services has been feeding hungry residents of the South Shore, but they have never had so many people requesting food as this year. In 2008 they distributed over 20,000 bags of food to hungry families. So far this year they have already seen a 25% increase in the number of people requesting food. «The economic crisis has been especially hard on middle America,» says Executive Director Rick Doane «food pantries are the only resource for many struggling families. Many of the people coming to our pantry this year are new clients; these are middle class folks who never had to use a social service agency in the past.»

Doane went on to say «I remember when I was a child, our family garden always seemed too have too many zucchinis or tomatoes for us to eat, we were constantly giving them away to family and friends. I hope that this year when backyard gardeners contemplate what to do with their extra veggies, that they will first think of their neighbors in need.»

Anyone interested in donating to the «Produce Appeal» can drop of their contribution at Interfaith Social Services’ Quincy office, at 105 Adams St. They are open Monday-Friday from 8:30am-3:30pm, and 7:00pm on Tuesday evenings.

Interfaith Social Services’ mission is to strengthen family life and offer assistance to anyone in need.

Interfaith Social Services (ISS) is a private, non-profit, non-sectarian agency serving the residents of Massachusetts’s South Shore (Quincy, Braintree, Weymouth, Milton, Randolph, Hingham, Hull, Holbrook, Scituate, and Cohasset). Since 1947 ISS has been working to ensure that individuals and families have access to food, clothing, financial assistance, and counseling.

Programs include:

Pantry Shelf food program distributes free food to our neighbors in need including non-peris

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