In Mount Prospect, the farmers market is helping to feed the hungry with both cash and goods.
At this week's Mount Prospect village board meeting, Nick Acerenza of the Mount Prospect Lions Club handed a check for $8,200 to the village's human services director, Nancy Morgan, for use in the village food pantry. The funds were raised from events at the farmers market, held downtown on Sundays. Morgan said 125 families this year will benefit.
"It's wonderful that the economy is improving," Morgan said, "but for a certain segment of our population, they have not seen (it)."
In addition, vegetables that once would have been discarded were saved for needy families, an idea that arose in the fertile brain of Trustee Steven Polit, a very active volunteer at the farmers market.
"Four years ago, we saw the vegetables being thrown away," Polit said. "It seemed like a waste."
He contacted the Hunger Resource Network, which contacted the Lions Club, which, in turn, agreed to sponsor a pickup after the market. Now, the food gets redirected to people who need it.
"Instead of throwing food out, we pick it up every Sunday afternoon," Polit said. It is placed in coolers and taken to village hall. "We have about nine volunteers on Monday morning that come down and put it into bags."
Polit thanked the farmers who donated the vegetables.
"We averaged between 850 and 1,000 pounds a week throughout the entire year this year," he said. "They (farmers) like the program so much that they actually bring extra vegetables to donate."