You Say Tomato, He Feeds a Family

Update: We are looking at doing this Tuesday, August 10. We’ll have more soon.








Together, Friends of theLoop, Farm Share and the Sheldrake Environmental Center hope to supplement these efforts to feed 500 families in our area. Dates and times for Nourish Your Neighbor will be announced soon.

Our story: One tomato, a cucumber, some lettuce and maybe a pepper and some celery makes a healthy salad for a family of four. "Vegetables are expensive," says  Ed Merians, and "for the families that need our food pantry, fresh produce may be out of reach."

More than 500 families in the area live below the poverty line.

So Merians had an idea. He is asking each of us to grow a tomato plant, a cucumber, peppers, string beans, whatever we can. We will then meet up in late August to pool our produce and feed many hungry people. The time and place will be announced here. 

We are calling it "Nourish Your Neighbor."

"No meetings. We don’t need a new not- for-profit. No web site. Let’s just cooperate," Merians says.

Merians, who is Chairman of the Westchester Chapter of the American Red Cross, is not doing this in any official capacity, but, he says, as a neighbor.

"As chair of the Red Cross in Westchester, I am seeing too much hunger in our community. It’s a growing problem. There are children in Larchmont (and from New Rochelle to Port Chester) who go to school hungry not because they have an eating disorder but because there is nothing on the table. I just can’t sleep well at night knowing that there may be one more thing I can do. 

Or that we can do.

Loop sponsor Farm Share has just agreed to offer a $25 rebate to anyone who wants to sign-up for their summer-long weekly box of fresh produce and donate a week to Nourish Your Neighbor.  Farm Share’s Gail Brussel says it has donated food for the hungry since it started five years ago.

"As long as we’ve been delivering shares to members, Farm Share has always donated the extra boxes of veggies, fruit and eggs to food pantries in need of fresh food. We’re grateful to have the chance to contribute close to home this year with ‘Nourish your Neighbor’."

theLoop pledges to ask every family in the area to plant something for this special harvest. Will you help?

"For once, I’m not asking my neighbors for blood or money, I am asking them to grow something in their garden,"  Merians laughed.

Please leave a comment below stating what you will grow and donate to Nourish Your Neighbor in order to gauge the interest.

And please spread the word. Watch this space for more details. 

Happy gardening!


  1. Forest Avenue, Larchmont June 11, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Count us in for a dozen tomatoes!! (4 families on Forest Avenue)

  2. I’m in! Mangone’s in Mamaroneck has some great seedlings. We just planted Mother’s Day and have been salading out of our garden for a few weeks already!

  3. Great idea, Ed. Will see what’s ready to harvest late August and bring it along.

  4. I have extra cherry tomatoes. Let me know when!

  5. I planted my vegetables in the front yard last year and they are once again getting the sun they need for a great harvest. My Tomatoes, Zucchini and cucumbers will be more than we can eat when they really start coming in. I would loved to be able to donate, let me know the specifics. Thanks. Patty

  6. Great idea Ed! We’ll try to donate something, maybe some tomatoes if they work out. Maybe some herbs.

  7. I’ve planted tomatoes, parsley, basil, arrugula. and various herbs. Whatever is growing well, I’d be happy and priviledged to share.

  8. I am constantly amazed by this community! I have been the president of the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Hunger Task Force (you may know us better as The Food Pantry) for almost a year, which has put me in the unique position of being regularly reminded of how caring and generous our neighbors are. Ed is right: we have over 600 families who are registered with us — that’s 2,000 people, over a third of whom are children. They all live in Larchmont or Mamaroneck and are living below the Federal Poverty Guideline. They are working poor, homebound seniors, unemployed or disabled.

    We distribute bags of groceries twice a month, and try to make those bags as nutritious as possible. We always include as much fresh produce as we can. It would be wonderful to be able to include locally grown vegetables this summer. Thank you, Ed, for your generous idea, and thank you to all of you who have already started planting. I, for one, have some tomato and cucumber plants that I just designated as Food Pantry harvest!

    For anyone who wants to learn more about the Food Pantry or would like to volunteer, please go to our website:

  9. I would just like everyone to know that over by the Sheldrake Environmental Center, off of Weaver St., we have been growing vegetables for the hungry for many, many years. Janet Beal,, is in charge of the project and every two weeks she brings vegetables to the Food Pantry. We also bring vegetables to various shelters weekly. Perhaps everyone would like to bring their produce over to the shed next to the garden and we would be happy to deliver it.

  10. We’ll be happy to contribute tomatoes, peppers, maybe some okra and green beans!

  11. I have planted a huge variety of vegetables this spring. Tomatoes, string beans, squash, lettuce, collard greens, corn, broccoli, cauliflower and more. I would love to share whatever the bounty is with people who are hungry. How will we know where to bring the items and when?

  12. Nourish Our Neighbors–
    Great idea. Since the late 1970s the Larchmont Reservoir has given space to a garden which grows and gives produce to the Pantry and several community residences. Begun by the Westchester Men’s Garden Club, it has been carried on by former Garden Club member Bob Wirsneck and a varying group of interested community members (Iris Scopp among them). Like Nourish Our Neighbors, no nonprofit, no meetings, no nonsense. Anyone who lacks garden space and wants to help us is welcome. Call Sheldrake Environmental Center (834-1443) to get connected.
    Janet Beal, coordinator

  13. I’d love to bring food to the pantry as it is ripe. I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t know where the Food Pantry is located. I have a large Italian garden, and as gardners know, so much becomes ripe at the same time, and it’s that day that I’d like to bring the food to share. Does the Food Pantry assign families to people – that would be great to have someone close by I could bring food to.

  14. Thanks to all for their help growing veggies! The weather is doing it’s part to speed our harvest but I think we should focus on the last Tuesday in July for our first collection. I will firm things up with the Pantry folks and let everyone know though the Loop. Let’s hope for continued good weather and enough rain to make this happen for our neighbors. Thanks again!

  15. All of us at the Food Pantry are getting so excited about this project. We will be distributing groceries on Tuesday, July 22nd and then again on Tuesday, August 13th. Either of those dates would be fantastic to receive local produce! For those who are looking to drop the produce off directly at the Pantry, we are located in the basement of the CAP Center in Mamaroneck on 134 Center Street. The CAP Center generously lets us use the space for our distributions, but when we are not there they use the space for their own programming. So ideally any drop-offs would be on the Tuesday of the weeks that we distribute. To see our calendar and find out more information about the Food Pantry, please visit our website:

  16. I planted what I thought were seedling zinneas on my very visable corner…turns out they were tomatoes. If any of them survive the passerbys, who pick flowers without a guilty conscience, the proceeds will go to the food pantry.:( Maybe I need a sign to ward off the pickers?

  17. Would have loved to contribute some tomatoes and peppers……..until Bambi the deer started frequenting our yard!! Any suggestions on how to discourage her from snacking on our contributions? Too early for anything to bloom yet, but she certainly enjoys many flowers we planted for naught-so I am taking that as a sign of things to come. (P.S. A fence is not fiscally feasible).

  18. Thank you everyone that participated especially the volunteers at the Sheldrake Center who have been growing veggies for the pantry for years with very little fanfare. You all are truly amazing. I am especially grateful to the volunteers at our food pantry. These folks work really hard organizing and distributing food to our neighbors in need. Our food pantry volunteers not only offer a portion of food but it comes with a large helping of dignity and respect. If you want to be proud of your community go visit and pitch in at our Larchmont – Mamaroneck Hunger Task Force food pantry.

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