There are times (like Oregon wintertime) when growing a garden isn’t an option, and there are other times when paying for healthy groceries is a serious challenge (like when you’re on a very tight budget). We can’t ignore that these are hard times for many of our community members. Eating locally sometimes simply means having enough in your own pantry to feed your family a good meal at home.

Over three years ago, a small group of concerned Ashland, Oregonians conceived a plan to keep a steady supply of food in their community emergency food bank. Co-Founder’s Paul Giancarlo and John Javna knew that local citizens wanted to help out, but where and how to make donations seemed to be the biggest obstacle to action. The Ashland Food Project (AFP) was started on June 20, 2009 based on a door-to-door collection system within neighborhoods. Helping people give became as easy as pie. In fact, the motto of the Ashland Food Project is “You want to help. We want to make it easy.”

Since that time, the Food Project has spread and been developed in several Southern Oregon cities and is more widely know as The Neighborhood Food Project. By July of 2012, more than 500,000 lbs of food had been donated and shared throughout Jackson County, Oregon and plans for Neighborhood Food Projects throughout the entire state are coming together.

Neighborhood Food Projects make it simple to give food six times a year. Utilizing the goodwill and energy of volunteer coordinators who educate and rally their neighbors who want to be involved, food bags are set out on front doorsteps and collected every two months. The various food project web sites include quick to fill out forms for how to donate as well as how to become a neighborhood coordinator.

Want to take action and feed your community during the tough times? A Food Project is a truly effective resource, and with a little effort and a lot of heart, you can make a difference.