Produce on Wheels, The Program

Stuart Watkins

When I heard about Produce on Wheels Without Waste, or POWWOW, I asked Dan Boring, a Vista United Methodist Church member, for more information. He explained that seasonal produce that crosses the border at Nogales, Ariz., is donated to Borderlands on the second Saturday of each month. Borderlands then delivers the produce to several locations in Tucson. The produce did not meet government standards to be sold in retail stores and would have been dumped in landfills if not for Borderlands picking up the produce and delivering it to various organizations.

One such organization is Vista de la Montana United Methodist Church in Catalina. Volunteers arrive between 6 and 6:30 a.m. Volunteers come from members of Vista Methodist Church, the Catholic Church, and volunteers from Catalina, Eagle Crest, SaddleBrooke, SaddleBrooke Ranch, and other areas. In Catalina, the Impact Food Center also directs people to Vista’s POWWOW program. Volunteers organize the produce into boxes and bags. Cars start arriving between 8 and 11 a.m. Each person is given about 75 pounds of produce. Last month 20,000 pounds of produce was distributed. A donation of $15 is requested, but if someone does not have the money, they do not go away empty-handed.

Dan explained the donated money is sent to Borderlands to pay for the gas and other expenses needed to fund the program.

The website has information about the program. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Dan Boring at 520-825-1985 for more information.