The West Virginia Division of Corrections has announced the state's participation in "Harvest Now," a project designed to grow fresh produce for food banks.
Founded four years ago in Connecticut, "Harvest Now" benefits members of the community who rely on food banks to feed their families and gives inmates a sense of purpose - providing them an opportunity to give back to the community.
Last year, 33,000 pounds of food were donated in Connecticut - with the biggest grower being Cybulski State Prison in Enfield. Their contribution of 22,000 pounds was enough to feed 5,500 people. "Harvest Now" has since spread to corrections systems throughout the country. Huttonsville Work Camp is participating in this project.
Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein invited founder Brooks Sumberg to present his idea to the senior leadership of the West Virginia DOC. Sumberg summarized his objective by stating, "This year I am reaching out to all corrections departments to see if we can repeat our success story."
The minimum and medium custody correctional facilities participating in the project are locating resources for seeds and plants and will soon begin planting. The West Virginia DOC will later work with Mountaineer Food Bank in Gassaway, which serves 48 counties, to distribute the harvest to food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, youth programs, daycare centers, senior programs, backpack/snack pack programs and after-school programs.