August in New England! I don’t know if it’s true everywhere, but the almost constant refrain at my office this month is “Are you going away for vacation?” And since there is a lovely vacation spot in just about every direction, it can end up in some lengthy (and very enthusiastic) conversations. Even in years when I can’t get away for a full week and travel to a resort destination, I am very appreciative of the lighter commute traffic and the chance to enjoy our local attractions⏤ especially the farm stands overflowing with abundant fresh produce.

Indeed, August marks the high point of the incredible New England harvest season. Corn on the cob dripping with butter, watermelon juicy enough to dribble down your arm, ripe tomatoes that pair with basil and fresh mozzarella to make a meal in themselves… unless you want to also toss some burgers on the grill and have a few friends over to enjoy the feast. At my house we have been experimenting with making homemade ice cream this summer, and our flavors have followed the fruit harvests: first strawberry, then blueberry, and now peach. My only concern has been staying active enough to keep the extra calories from settling on my hips.

For many of our neighbors, however, thoughts of August do not call to mind anything along the lines of either vacation or abundance. On the contrary, the summer months can accentuate the problems that those lower on the socioeconomic scale have all year with access to food. For school-age children, summer means missing out on school lunch, which can be the one reliable meal in a child’s day. The added expense of summer childcare has parents pinching pennies and cutting the food budget. And with donors being out of town, clients of food pantries may encounter shelves that have grown bare.

If you, like me, find yourself lucky enough to be in the former category and have it to spare, I encourage you to consider increasing your Loaves & Fishes donation in the month of August. Throw in some sturdy fresh vegetables like zucchini, carrots, or potatoes, along with your mixes and canned goods. Perhaps add a cake mix or bottle of juice to help celebrate a summer birthday. I can guarantee you that, whatever you give, your donation will be very much appreciated. Because hunger doesn’t take a vacation.

On vacation at donation time? You can still impact our mission by supporting Groton Neighborhood Food Project. Make a donation via PayPal® and your dollars will go toward feeding more of our neighbors.

Our “one green bag” program delivers grocery items every other month to Loaves & Fishes food pantry in Devens, where 800+ local families going through hard times find the helping hand they need. Groton Neighborhood Food Project is run completely by volunteers, and your donation will go directly to helping us purchase the materials we need to run the program and expand our reach. We hope to double our number of donor neighborhoods by 2020 – a lofty goal, but we can do it with your help!