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Humanists Squash Hunger

by Myrna Becker

The Capital District Humanist Society (CDHS), located in Albany, New York, decided to put its humanist principles to work this year by growing squash to give away to food pantries and soup kitchens. An article in the Dec. 22, 1996, New York Times stated that charitable donations to Second Harvest, America's largest hunger-relief charity, dropped considerably from 1994 to 1995. Even as welfare rules change and the number of people in need of food is expected to grow, gifts in the human services sector are declining for the first time since 1989. Financial donations are up, but food giving, which accounts for the bulk of contributions, is down drastically.

Luckily, we had a most important asset, the Auclair Farm, which is run by two of our members. We planted during the first week in June and expect in September to harvest 30,000 pounds of squash. The value of squash is about 17 cents a pound retail. Much of the squash will be stored at the farm and will be distributed to local food kitchens through the winter along with a number of donated squash recipes. Our members have donated over $400, leaving us with at least half that after seed costs for fungicides and insecticides as needed. We got a special price on the seed, and a local produce store donated wooden crates. By September we'll need about 700 crates.

Our next work is to try to encourage local farmers to expand on this project next summer. Anyone wishing to communicate with Paula or Walter Auclair about the CDHS Squash Project can email them at pmauc@aol.com.

Myrna Becker is the Executive Director of the Capital District Humanist Society.

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This page was last updated 12/04/2003

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