On Saturdays volunteers head to the market, specifically the Farmshed booth in the downtown square.
The volunteers receive the “volunteer tote” which contains:
– Master list of the vendors at the market
– 30 large reusable bags
– Dry erase markers
– A fish scale (for weighing the produce at the end of the day)
Next, their job is to distribute the bags to each vendor and to write down the vendors name on a tag on each bag. They will also have information sheets to explain the network to new vendors to answer any questions they may have.
There are usually between 20 and 40 vendors depending on the season, so this process will take about 30 minutes, at the most. As the volunteer visits each stall, they tell the producer that they’ll be back in 30 minutes to collect their bag.
As the market concludes the vendors will decide what products they would like to donate, and will leave their bags at their stations with the donated products.
At this time, the volunteer is free to roam the market, grab some egg rolls and walk around downtown for the 30 minutes of waiting time.
As vendors are ready with their filled bags, the volunteers start collecting them. The bags with produce are brought to the Farmshed tent to be weighed with the fish scale.
To weigh the bags, the straps are simply put on the fish scale hook, the bag is lifted and the weight appears on the screen. Make sure it’s pounds and not kilograms!
The weight of each bag is recorded in correspondence with the vendor. This is important because each vendor will get an invoice at the end of the season that will help them receive tax exemption for the weight of products donated.
This process will take about 60 minutes and will require one volunteer with vehicle transportation to another location.
After the products have been weighed, the transportation or ‘car volunteer’ will take one bag of produce to the Family Crisis Center and the rest to Salvation Army’s Hope Center, the only 24-hour homeless shelter and pantry in Central Wisconsin. From that site, other food pantries are able to pick up donated produce.