Women's Rowing

    Hoosiers Showing the 'Cupboard' Is Far From Bare

    Go Hoosiers! Ashley Johnson and Madison Spruell
    Go Hoosiers!
    Ashley Johnson and Madison Spruell
    Go Hoosiers!

    Oct. 5, 2007

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana rowing team has been out and about in the community throughout the Fall semester. Some members of the team have been volunteering with the Girl Scouts while others have been helping out at the Shalom House and other have been lending a hand at Mother Hubbard's Cupboard. They have been going on their own time during the week to help out whenever they can.

    The following article profiles a couple of the Hoosiers' most recent experiences at Mother Hubbard's Cupboard in Bloomington.

    Mother Hubbard's Cupboard was started in 1998 by two mothers who, at one time, received assistance from government food programs. Their idea was to offer healthier, more wholesome food options for people in need. Today the pantry distributes healthy, organic produce that comes from one of their three gardens in Bloomington that are all staffed by volunteers. Veteran volunteers teach newcomers how to harvest the various herbs and vegetables that then get boxed, taken to the Cupboard and dispersed along with recipes on how to prepare them. Their efforts reach over 1,500 people a week.

    While Mother Hubbard's Cupboard does not currently serve pre-made meals, a food kitchen is a project they are working on. Presently the Cupboard offers homegrown food, workshops, recipes, and the overall guidance needed to prepare nutritious meals with fresh produce at a low cost.

    "It is like a farmers market for people in need, a pretty cool concept," reflects Ashley Johnson, a junior on the IU rowing team and enrolled in the School of Business. "We learned a lot of helpful hints about gardening while we were there; for instance picking the flowers off of herbs makes them grow more foliage. It was very relaxing to work in the garden after a day of non-stop practice and classes and studying. You might think going to volunteer after all that would just be another task on the list of things to get done for the day, but I found that it was very enjoyable".



    The garden the Hoosiers' helped harvest was one of three plots that yield food for the pantry. Located near The Harmony School, they started their work with learning the best way to harvest the plants while ensuring they produce more fruit. The next task was watering the plants since the gardens have struggled to handle the hot dry summer in Bloomington this year. Some of the items they picked and boxed for the pantry included: peppers, sun dried peppers, chard, varieties of lettuce and herbs such as basil.

    "While I come from a town where we have drive-your-tractor-to-school-day," Madison Spruell, a junior on the rowing team and journalism major explains, "I have no experience with gardening at all. So it was great to be there with two other volunteers that were familiar with the gardens as well as Mother Hubbard's mission."

    The rowers learned that Mother Hubbard's Cupboard wants to educate people about eating wholesome foods while remaining economical.

    "The Cupboard is really just trying to provide good, wholesome foods to people that may not otherwise have the opportunity to get it," Spruell said.


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