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Our First Community Harvest Gathering

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

On Saturday, Sept. 25, Second Harvest hosted its very first Community Harvest Gathering in honor of September being Hunger Action Month. Because Second Harvest had never done a community outreach event before, SHFB AmeriCorps VISTAs (and blog writers!) Angela and Rachel decided to take on the task of planning a fun get-together for our community members!

The Harvest Gathering focused on health and physical fitness, as part of the food bank's ongoing initiative that Food is Health. If you missed the event this year, Second Harvest will continue to do this event annually, most likely in the summer months.

The Community Harvest Gathering took place in the grassy knoll outside of Second Harvest Food Bank. We wanted people to get their bodies moving and have fun outside, so we had several activities and games set up. There were inflatable basketball hoops, an inflatable axe throwing game, and inflatable giant cornhole. We also had giant Jenga and Connect Four, as well as frisbees and balls, which a lot of kids had fun playing with. There was even a balloon artist there to make balloon animals for kids!

Of course, we also gave away food! We had healthy snacks (bags of fresh fruits and veggies) that people could enjoy while they were there. We also had a mini food distribution of produce such as onions and potatoes, which people could help themselves to and take home.

Two dance instructors from Springfield Health and Fitness volunteered their time and each taught a free dance class. This was the perfect way to get people moving, having fun, and dancing along to some music!

We were lucky enough to have a dozen community partners present to offer information and resources about the services they provided. When people arrived, they were given an activity card. If they spoke to nine community organizations and received nine stamps on their card, they could get an extra raffle ticket. If someone wore orange (the color of Hunger Action Month), that also earned them another raffle ticket, along with the one everyone automatically received for showing up.

A big thank you to all the community groups who were present: Clark County Combined Health Department's WIC Division, Clark County Public Library, Interfaith Hospitality Network, McKinley Hall, Mercy Health, NAMI, Neighborhood Housing Partnership of Greater Springfield, Springfield Salvation Army, Think Tank, United Senior Services, United Way of Clark, Champaign, and Madison Counties, and WellSpring!

We had two sets of raffle prizes: one for adults and one for children. Adult prizes included a $25 Kroger gift card, crock pot, air fryer, and a bike. Children prizes included a kid's bike, giant Jenga, pogo stick, and a basketball hoop.

All in all, this was an extremely fun event. We received a lot of good feedback and are so excited to do it again next year!

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