Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bountiful Baskets

Hi. This is Mariah, I'm the volunteer site coordinator for the Bountiful Baskets site at DeGrazia Elementary School. Cherise asked if I could post some information about the process.

At this point all the Tucson sites are offered during week A only. All sites are conventional basket sites, not organic.

I don't know how to embed links, but the site is

The easiest way to get going is to sign up for the newsletter at the above site. When it's time to order Sally & Tanya (the head coordinators) will send out an email with a link you can click on to contribute.

Each time a different assortment of produce comes. I've had fun trying new things and figuring out new ways to prepare old things. There's always different stuff, but I've noticed there are a few that come quite often...bananas, lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli or cauliflower, strawberries, and potatoes. These don't come every time, but fairly regularly. During the winter months we're getting different varieties of oranges/mandarins and apples. Over the summer we got lots of different varieties of grapes and berries. The rest is a wide variety of other fruit and veggies. You can't pick or choose what you want. A truck comes with everything packed in big boxes and volunteers distribute equally among all the baskets. I DO NOT like celery, so when something like that comes I trade it with my mom for something I like and she doesn't after we get home.

In addition to the baskets a variety of breads and extras are usually offered for an additional contribution. My son is soy and lactose intolerant, so feeding him is obviously expensive and difficult. I love the bread because it's just basic wheat, yeast, salt, honey type of ingredients and it tastes good too. :-) Also, there is usually some kind of "bulk" offering. Over the summer I was able to get a big flat of blackberries for jam. My mom canned cherries, pickles, and peaches from the bulk items she was able to get through bountiful baskets.

When you come to pick up you'll need to bring your own container to transfer all the produce into to take home.

Friday night a list of all the participants, along with other paperwork, is uploaded to a private site for the volunteer coordinators. I print all those lists off and have them at the distribution site. Each person signs before they get their basket. If you also got any of the extras you'll need to sign a second time for those.

When you are processing your order be careful to contribute once. If you're not sure if it went through or not give it some time before you try again. If something happens and your order goes through multiple times you'll receive multiple baskets. They are very strict about not giving refunds for accidental double, triple, etc orders. In the past when someone has ended up with more baskets than they can use they have been able to find family or friends to pass them too. One lady ended up with 4 baskets because she thought it wasn't going through, but it was. Most of the time you won't need your receipt, BUT if your name doesn't show up on the list for some reason the receipt is the only way to prove you've contributed. So, I always suggest that you bring that with you too. We can't figure anything out with a driver's license or the debit card used; volunteer site coordinators don't have access to any of that information.

If you don't show up you'll get a very early call from me or someone else reminding you to come get your produce. If we can't get a hold of you the order will be donated to a fire station. I try to hang onto the produce till Saturday afternoon to give people a chance to contact me. When you're entering all of your information on the order form make sure to put a phone number that will reach you on a Saturday morning. If I only have a work number it will be donated before you get the message Monday morning.

Hopefully this answers the questions out there. If you have any additional questions let me know and I'll answer them the best I can. It's a fun thing that I've really enjoyed. Anyone who wants to volunteer, we start distributing at 6 am. ;+D


Cherise said...

Thanks Mariah... I hope this clears up the questions... if not they can now get them answered.

Tara H. said...

Where does the produce come from. Is it all local produce or coming from all over the place?