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Sharing the bounty: Woodbury's Christian Cupboard helps provide free produce at farmers market

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Beginning next month, free produce will be available select Thursdays at Transfiguration Catholic Church in Oakdale.

An anti-hunger project called the Produce Fair will distribute greens and vegetables from 10-11:30 a.m. July 27, Aug. 10 and 24, Sept. 14 and 28, and Oct. 12.

The free farmers market is a collaboration between Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shel in Woodbury and Second Harvest Heartland in St. Paul. Second Harvest collects surplus food from retailers and farmers.

"Everyone is welcome in the community," said Emily Bowman, outreach program manager for Christian Cupboard. "There's no income restriction. There's no geographic boundaries. They are welcome to come."

Last year, Christian Cupboard served an average of 120 households with 50 pounds of fresh apples, watermelon, carrots, peppers and squash.

"It's basically a wonderful way for people to have access to fresh produce to make sure the community has access to that," Bowman said. "There's a lot of misconceptions about hunger, especially with us being in the suburbs."

When school closes for the summer, it can mean some kids may suffer food insecurity, she said.

"Typically, kids would get breakfast or lunch at school but in the summer, but with school being out, it's really important that people have access to food," Bowman said. "It's a great example how different sectors of the community work together."

The selection of produce depends on growing conditions and seasonal availability.

Christian Cupboard operates out of Woodbury Lutheran Church, 7380 Afton Road, Woodbury.

For more information about Christian Cupboard programs or other volunteer opportunities, visit www.ccefs.org. Their regular service hours are noon to 4 p.m. Mondays, 3-7 p.m. Thursdays and 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Fridays.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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