Back in 1998, Deborah Morgan heard about a new organization called Palm Beach Harvest that collected leftover food and delivered it to soup kitchens and food banks.
She volunteered to serve as a transporter, picking up soon-to-be-discarded food from a Palm Springs Publix and driving it to a soup kitchen west of Boynton Beach. She worked two mornings a week with her daughter, Holly, strapped into a car seat.
“I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and do something to give back to my community,” Morgan said.
She still transports food, but now she’s the executive director – one of two paid staff members at the agency, where donations are tax-deductible.
The rest of the work is done by some 200 volunteers who move about 5 million pounds of food annually to more than 100 soup kitchens, food pantries, housing authorities and recovery centers throughout Palm Beach County.
Palm Beach Harvest also takes fresh produce from four community gardens, including the newly planted Gray Mockingbird Garden at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center in Lake Worth. The garden was created with money from a Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.