Rotary Club hosts food box exchange club in partnership with Exchange Club, Davies Shelter

Over 2,000 boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables will be distributed from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Coosa Valley Fairgrounds on Wednesday as part of an event hosted by the Rome Rotary Club and Seven Hills Rotary Club.

Rome Rotary Club President Nancy Smith said they were approached by the Rotary Foundation about the event and said if they raise half the money for the program with other local clubs, the international organization will pay for the other half.

Around 74 pallets of boxes will be delivered to the fairgrounds by the United States Department of Agriculture. Each box weighs around 25 pounds and is filled with all kinds of produce from farms all over the Southeastern United States.

Some of the produce includes potatoes, eggplants, oranges, apples and zucchini, but Smith says it varies depending on where they get it.

“You’re actually helping a farmer out if you come get a box,” Smith said. “The USDA is sponsoring the program and they’re paying the farmers to get food out of the field. It’s helping the farmers, helping the people that get the box and it’s just helping all the way down the line.”

The club was only given about a week’s notice for the event, but Smith feels good about how quickly they’ve put it together.

The Rotary Club partnered with the Exchange Club of Rome for the venue and the Hope Alliance and local Boy Scout troops will help load and unload the boxes.

According to the Davies Shelter and Hope Alliance director Devon Smyth, Southeastern Mills will be providing a forklift and driver, as well as other volunteers.

One of Smyth’s favorite parts about the event is there is no registration or prerequisites to receive a box.

“We’re just neighbors helping neighbors,” she said. “Neighbors need things right now and this is a way for neighbors to reach out and share what bounty there is.”

When entering the fairgrounds off of Kingston Highway, go through the back gate and follow the directions for the drive-thru. Once your car is loaded by a volunteer, you can exit through the front gate.

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