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Delivering Food from Fields to Families


In 2012, Sasha Coyle was searching for volunteer opportunities that her whole family – including her three young boys – could participate in. Then at a local farmers market, she discovered Fields to Families―a South Carolina-based program that works to fight hunger by gathering fresh fruits and vegetables from generous local farmers and community gardeners, and then distributing the food to those in need through food pantries, soup kitchens, churches, orphanages and shelters.

It was a perfect fit. “We wanted a day of volunteering as a family that served a greater purpose, but was also something the kids would enjoy. And I love the feeling of providing fresh produce to people because it supports the same healthy options I want for my own family,” Sasha explains.

But instead of the “day of volunteering” that Sasha had pictured, that one day turned into several years. Sasha and her family stayed involved as volunteers, and she eventually decided to serve on the organization’s board as the chair of the farm and garden committee. Then in 2014, Sasha became the organization’s program manager. In her new role, Sasha is now in charge of managing relationships with local farmers, participating in local farmers markets and coordinating volunteer groups that meet at farms to collect donated food.

“I never knew how to garden or keep a plant alive until I started trying in 2012,” Sasha says. But now, the Fields to Families garden is one of her favorite places, and she coordinates the volunteers who maintain and expand it. She also believes that the garden is one of her greatest accomplishments because of how much food they are able produce: In 2014, the garden provided more than 2,200 pounds of vegetables which were all donated.

And not only do they donate the food they grow, the garden is also used as “educational garden” where kids and adults of all ages can learn about gardening and growing vegetables.

Sasha and the Fields to Families’ efforts are part of a broader focus on ensuring health for those less fortunate. “Providing fresh produce to people that may otherwise go without is supportive of many health issues and concerns,” Sasha explains.

And, Sasha loves that Fields to Families also helps her family grow and learn together. “Volunteering with Fields to Families not only has my family as a whole involved, but my kids are being educated hands-on about food, farming and the needs of others,” Sasha says.

In 2014, the program donated more than 54,000 pounds of fresh produce, and they’re not stopping there. “Fields to Families is addressing South Carolina’s hunger problem in the most healthy way,” Sasha says.