When I heard about Produce on Wheels Without Waste, or POWWOW, I asked Dan Boring, a Vista United Methodist Church member, to give me more information. He explained that on the second Saturday of each month, seasonal produce that crosses the border at Nogales, Ariz., is donated to Borderlands. 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 car is given about 75 pounds of produce. Last month almost 2,000 pounds of produce were distributed. A donation of $15 is requested, but if someone does not have the money, they do not go away empty-handed.
Dan explained that the donated money is sent to Borderlands to pay for the gas and other expenses needed to fund the program. The website Borderlandsproducerescue.org has information about the program. Anyone interested in volunteering to help distribute produce at Vista United Methodist Church can contact Dan Boring at 520-825-1985.