Food bank produce donations hurt by drought

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Wed, August 6 2014 at 3:49 PM, Updated: Wed, August 6 2014 at 4:02 PM

Klamath Falls, Ore. - Drought conditions have left a food bank serving Klamath and Lake counties short on fresh produce.

The 'Rotary Fresh Harvest' garden normally produces about 13 thousand pounds of produce - but not this year.

"No water, no produce."  Explains Food Bank Director Niki Sampson.  "So they had to plow it all under."

Sampson adds that the shortage of fresh produce comes as a time of high demand...

"We're feeding 1 in 4 households in Klamath and Lake counties right now."

Other local gardeners are stepping up to help out.

The Westside Community Church's 'Garden of Eatin' is still growing, as long as water in a nearby drainage ditch keeps flowing.

"We hope and pray that we'll have water."  Says garden property owner Don McClendon.  "Because we really believe in what we're doing."

"We split the produce between the county food bank, and the gospel mission."  Adds Westside Community Church Pastor John Kays.

The 'Garden of Eatin' is expected to produce about 6 thousand pounds of food.

But Niki Sampson says more help is needed...

"We can take zucchini the size of small children."

Donations can be dropped off at the Klamath / Lake Counties Food Bank on Maywood Drive.

Last year, the Klamath-Lake Counties Food Bank distributed about 29 thousand pounds of food every week.  Over the course of a year, that food helped to prepare nearly half a million meals.

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About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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