Sunflower Hill, a nonprofit that raises organic produce, said this week that it had donated nearly 400 pounds of produce to local organizations since the Alameda County shelter-at-home order took effect in mid-March.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit had to close its Sunflower Hill Garden to volunteers and program participants who would typically work alongside staff to maintain and harvest produce for donation.
But the staff has continued to harvest produce for donation to other local organizations, including Culinary Angels, Tri-Valley Haven, and most recently, Shepherd’s Gate, a residential program in Livermore and Brentwood, California, that offers women and children an escape from addiction, homelessness and domestic abuse.
"Our partnership with Sunflower Hill helps us in our mission to provide nutritious foods and teach our women and children how to lead a healthy lifestyle,” said Jill Gandara, who heads up volunteer relations at Shepherd’s Gate.
“It is fun to see the expressions on the kids' faces as the produce is taken out of the crates,” Gandara said. “Each week there is an excitement to see what has been harvested, what new fruits and veggies we can introduce to our kids and how the produce can be utilized in our family style meals."
“The Sunflower Hill Garden has always been a space that gives back to the community,” said Edie Nehls,
executive director at Sunflower Hill. “Whether it be through our programs for adults with developmental
disabilities, community events, or through our ongoing produce donations, we’re thankful to be stewards of this land and offer support to our community.”
In addition to its garden donations, Sunflower Hill develops residential communities for adults with developmental disabilities. It recently shifted more of its programming online with a variety of learning and enrichment activities posted to the organization’s website, www.sunflowerhill.org, each weekday at noon.