Monday, October 17, 2011
Bountiful Baskets is a tremendous organization, and if you haven't participated, you are really missing out of a bargain on fruit and vegetables. The basket in the photo shows all the produce I received at this week's delivery. (My area has a delivery every two weeks on Saturday). I purchased a basket (50% fruit and 50% vegetables) for $15.00, plus $1.50 for handling. On my initial Saturday, I paid a one-time charge of $3.00 so the coordinator could purchase sorting baskets.
The type and quantity of items varies each time. This week's fruit basket contained: bananas, gala apples, plums, pears, grapes, avocados.
This week's vegetable basket included: leaf lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, garlic.
The truck arrives at my location at 6 AM, and volunteers (it is requested that those who order baskets are to volunteer from time to time) unload the truck.
The boxes and items are checked-in by the coordinator.
Once she is certain that all the items are present, the volunteers distribute the number of items in the waiting laundry baskets (one for fruit and one for veggies).
A master list tells the volunteers how many of each item go in each basket. (Every basket must contain the same items in the same quantity. Sometimes, there are extra items, and they are also placed in the baskets, so each basket will have one extra item, but possibly not the same as another basket.
Volunteers work quickly: the truck must be unloaded, and the baskets filled in under an hour. It is nice when a lot of people come to help because it is not so hectic.
Speciality items (breads, tortilla shells, organic food baskets, fruit packs, etc.) are also available from time to time and ordered at the same time as the baskets. No money is paid on distribution day. The table in the foreground holds speciality items. Individuals who ordered these items must present a receipt to receive the items.
The doors are opened at 7 AM for people to pick up the food they ordered. They must present a receipt and sign-in.
The white laundry baskets remain at the location (they are sanitized after they are emptied) and are only used for sorting. Each person must bring their own bags or boxes to take their items home. It is easy to spot first time participants because they come with one or two plastic grocery bags and end up making several trips to their car.
If a participant does not pick up the food between 7 - 7:30 AM, the contents is donated to the local fire department - no refunds are given for baskets not collected.
Need more information? Bountiful Baskets has a great Frequently Asked Questions page.
Check this page to see if your area has a group. You will be glad that you did.
If you do participate, make sure to volunteer. Your time is well spent and helps prevent coordinator burn-out.