FREELAND, Md. — More than 25 farms across the Mid-Atlantic region came together this week to support relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
The effort began with First Fruits Farm, a non-profit Christian ministry dedicated to providing fresh, nutritious produce to those experiencing hunger in the Mid-Atlantic region. Their team coordinated with nationwide non-profit Convoy of Hope to provide and transport food to those impacted by Hurricane Ida, which has left lasting damage from Louisiana as far north as New York when it swept the coast earlier this month.
“As the largest provider of fresh produce to the Maryland Food Bank and others in neighboring states, First Fruits Farm has a wide network of distribution partners and the capacity to respond to hunger needs for disaster relief,” said Jamison Hunsberger, farm manager at First Fruits Farm. “The 2021 season has produced abundant crops; including delicious Maryland sweet corn that will be sent in truckloads to those affected by Hurricane Ida. We are thankful for the efforts of so many people who give their time, effort and support to this cause.”
When Tom Albright of Albright Farms in Baltimore County heard what First Fruits Farm was planning, he felt called to help.
“Hurricane Ida has had a devastating impact on many communities and families,” Albright said. “To know that we can play a role in organizing fresh, nutritious fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products at a time they are needed most is both humbling and deeply gratifying.”
Both Maryland and Pennsylvania farmers donated food. Rahll’s Produce donated a truck and driver to help transport the products and EnviroCool Service provided a refrigerated truck.
First Fruits Farm served as the central gathering location for donations where their farm crew packaged the donations and loaded them on to the Convoy of Hope trailers.
The deliveries included 10 pallets of sweet corn, nine pallets of potatoes, five pallets of green beans, 17 pallets of dairy, eggs and meat, and 26 pallets of assorted fruits and vegetables.
“We were given a bountiful crop and wanted to share with those in need,” said Wendy Dilworth of Hills Forest Fruit Farm in Kingsville. “We heard Convoy of Hope was taking donations for the communities affected by Hurricane Ida in Louisiana and we wanted to help.”
In addition to the 25 donating farms, Mountaire Farms sent 40,000 pounds of chicken to Convoy of Hope to help feed those in need after Hurricane Ida.
“Mountaire Farms is proud to partner with local farmers and help out those in need after such a devastating hurricane,” said Catherine M. Bassett, director of communications and community relations for Mountaire. “We are also sending team members to help on the ground to make sure those in need get access to hot meals when they’ve been without power for so long. We know we’d want people to help us out, so we’re happy to do our part to help others.”
In total, more than five loaded trailers of farm-fresh chicken, beef, pork, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, apples, peaches, collard greens, potatoes, corn and tomatoes left First Fruits Farm this week to be delivered to communities in need in Louisiana and Pennsylvania. First Fruits Farms will be sending at least one additional delivery in the coming weeks.