A 400-kilogram glut of iconic Maitland pumpkins has marked the start of community drive to produce food for the city’s hungry.
Rescued by a local farmer, the pumpkins are now facing their fate at the Readers Cafe and Larder, East Maitland, as part of the Slow Food Movement’s second food drive.
Last year the Hunter branch of the movement responded to a call for charities battling to find sufficient supplies.
As a result, more than 700 kilograms of produce was donated.
This equated to more than 2000 meals for charities including Carrie’s Place, Maitland Youth Crisis Centre, Maitland Neighbourhood Centre and the Community Restorative Centre.
“The response to last year’s drive was great; we got 17 volunteers and we need the community’s help again,” Slow Food Hunter Valley leader Amorelle Dempster said.
“Initially, my main concern was food waste from the area and the amount of food going into landfill, but this whole project has taken a slightly different turn.
“I was really surprised and concerned to discover how many people were going hungry in our community, so now this has become all about feeding the community.”
While volunteers are desperately needed to prepare the large number of pumpkins, Ms Dempster has encouraged farmers or residents to donate excess vegetables and herbs.
“We can make a lot with very few ingredients,” she said.
“If we have pumpkins, a few other vegetables and some eggs we can make a frittata and as the weather cools down we start on the soups.”
“We have a responsibility to help those in need.”
If you’d like to volunteer or donate produce phone Amorelle Dempster on 4933 5644.