Air quality affecting number of volunteers at local food bank

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Employees at Raptor Creek Farm pick nearly 500 pounds of tomatoes a week and that’s not all they have to do. Poor air quality has made it so they only have two employees to take care of five acres of land.

“I’m full time out here on the farm and then Amanda is part time,” Farm manager, Kristin Smith, said. “We’ve got five acres and were a community farm so it’s volunteers.”

Raptor Creek Farm harvests fruits and vegetables for the Josephine County Food Bank. The food goes to nearly 13,000 people in Josephine County who are in need.

“It’s just been a little bit harder and Amanda and I have had to do more of the bulk of the work,” Kristin said.

Because there is so much to do, the farm relies heavily on volunteers to help harvest the crops. But the smoky weather summer, has kept volunteers indoors.

“We have had less volunteers because of the smoke,” Amanda Santoni, assistant farm manager, said. “It’s difficult to come outside a lot of people can’t because of health conditions.”

The two have been wearing masks while they work and have cut down on the amount of time spent outdoors.

But the two can only do so much, and not having volunteers means they’re having to work more.

“Harvesting, we’ll usually have volunteers to do that, now we need to do more of it, so that takes up time from other things that we would normally be doing,” Kristin said.

Although, the two say that managing the farm is doable on their own, they wouldn’t mind a few extra hands to help them.

“Oh my gosh, just to get people out here to do the tomatoes, would allow Amanda and I to do so much more work that we need to,” Kristin said.

Their volunteer days are on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8 A.M. to 12 P.M. Kristin says they have all the gear that anyone needs and you can show up to the Josephine County Food Bank, whenever.

If you want to contact them, their phone number is (541) 479 – 5556

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