What is the Donation Station?
In 2007, we piloted a program that grew with the support of local farmers and community members into what we now call the Donation Station.
The Donation Station addresses this region's food insecurity challenges by providing immediate food access while simultaneously reducing food waste and working to support an equitable regional food system. We firmly believe that a thriving regional food system must be sustainable and just, providing access to fresh, regionally-grown foods for all.
We receive both food and monetary donations each week from customers, vendors, and local community gardeners at local farmers markets and produce auctions. We then reinvest donated funds back into the local economy by using these donations to purchase produce from the regional growers who sell at our local farmers market and produce auction. Finally, we distribute all donated and purchased food to our food access partners who serve individuals facing food insecurity. All distributed food is regional grown or produced.
In conjunction with the Donation Station's Discovery Kitchen workshops, the Donation Station empowers community members to improve their quality of life. Individuals who experience the true value of this region's assets and who feel supported and strengthened by the community have an increased capacity to help build community resilience, and are more likely to complete the circle and support our regional food system independently.
Thanks to our holistic approach to food access and community resilience, the Donation Station is an amazing and unique program that addresses the quadruple bottom line of community resilience, working to support the region's people, economy, and cultural traditions, while recognizing that the health of these community components depend on the health of the environment.
Big ideas, huh? Help us get there! Every year we aim to distribute 100,000 pounds of regionally grown produce. Click below to contribute what you can!
Donation Station Schedule
The Athens Mall
1000 E State St, Athens, OH 45701
In The Parking Lot And/Or Inside the Mall
Saturdays | 9am – 12pm | All Year
Wednesdays | 9am – 1pm | April – December
8380 Wagoner Rd, Chesterhill, OH 43728
Mondays and Thursdays | 4pm | May – October
Help Us Reach Our Goal in 2022
In 2021, we distributed 81,467 pounds of nourishing, locally grown or produced food to our partner food pantries and agencies in Appalachia Ohio. Every year, our goal is to share more than 100,000 pounds of locally grown or produced food with our friends and neighbors in need. Here are additional ways you can help us grow and share the harvest.
Grow a Row
Help us reach our goal of making fresh, healthy, local produce available to everyone by donating extra produce from your garden. You can bring your garden goods to Donation Station at the Athens Farmers Market, any Wednesday or Saturday, 9am-noon.
The Harvest Hotline
The Harvest Hotline is a service for farmers who have excess crops in their fields and would like to donate them to our Donation Station. Whatever the reason for your extra produce, let us volunteer to do some harvesting and gleaning for a good cause.
Don’t let food go to waste! In the past, the Harvest Hotline alone has contributed to over 5,000 pounds of food in a single year to the Donation Station. Leftovers add up!
Anyone can take advantage of the Harvest Hotline, all year round. You may notice that the Harvest “Hotline” is the same number as the CFI Office number, at 740.593.5971. Call in and we’ll schedule volunteers to come and pick up some food!
Replicate a Donation Station in Your Community
Want a Donation Station in your community? Click here to find out how CFI can help you start a Donation Station where you live.
How to Utilize Donation Station Services
If you are looking for a food pantry or other resources near you, click here.
If you are looking for free meals near you, click here.
If you are a food pantry or a social service agency looking to collect donations from CFI, get in touch with us! We will ask that you fill out a contact form outlining roughly how many people you serve, when you distribute food, and if you would be interested in hosting Discovery Kitchen events. Within a few weeks, we will come out to inspect your site to verify you as one of our distributors.
Our Discovery Kitchen is the educational project of our Donation Station program. A mobile service rather than a brick-and-mortar venue, we utilize our Discovery Kitchen to share recipes that feature local, seasonal, produce. At Discovery Kitchen events, community members can discover how delicious, easy, and affordable eating locally-grown produce can be. We share either tasting tables or full cooking workshops, with each event centered around the belief that a thriving local food system ensures access to healthy food for everyone in the community.
The goal of our Donation Station's Discovery Kitchen is to ensure that every community member has opportunity to taste delicious food made with locally-grown produce. On top of just knowing that fresh produce tastes wonderful, it's our hope that Discovery Kitchen participants will build confidence in their own ability to make mouth-watering dishes using the produce we grow right here in Appalachian Ohio.
We share Discovery Kitchen events with a wide range of organizations, from the farmers market, to campus, to food pantries and community dinners. If you know of a group that could benefit from our Discovery Kitchen, contact us to see how we can be of service to you!