It’s been 21 years since two people had a vision followed by a goal to provide fresh, healthy local produce to feed the poor and hungry in the Coachella Valley. Friends Christy Porter and Mark Nickerson realized how many locals were being deprived of fresh vegetables in their daily diet.
Today, Hidden Harvest gleans the crops after the fields are plowed in search of the remaining unblemished produce, which it cleans and distributes free of charge. The organization also sees to it that the senior populations are made a priority as are members of local agencies such as the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, the Galilee Center, the Coachella Senior Center and members of the LGBT community in Palm Springs.
This is what the more than 300 attendees were told on Thursday, Nov. 18, at the organization’s 5th annual luncheon, fashion show, boutique and silent auction at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa. At the sold-out event, board president and co-founder Porter revealed another startling number: to date, 21,000,000 pounds of fresh vegetables have been provided by the nonprofit to our undernourished neighbors.
The event began at 11 a.m. with a cocktail hour, which allowed guests to peruse and bid on dozens of silent auction items as well as shop at local boutique pop-ups with Hidden Harvest getting a percentage of sales. This included items from Revenge on Palm Canyon, Shirley’s Boutique in Palm Desert, Stephan Cori and J.McLaughlin on El Paseo, which showcased their clothes via an entertaining fashion show throughout the latter part of the lunch.
Other vendors on hand to lend support were Kitchen Kitchen and Gaby L’s Boutique. There was purses, jewelry, wine, shoes, Baccarat Crystal and golf packages from local resorts.
Porter also announced that moving forward, Hidden Harvest will be partnering with two small local farmers to increase the amount of produce they are able to provide the community. The nonprofit will pay for the seeds and the startup costs and will pay the farmers the going price for the produce — a win-win for both Hidden Harvest and the farmers.
The organizers sent special thanks to Nancy Skonezny, Susan Rombough, Janet Cunningham, Barbara Stenzler, Amy Ashmann and Carol Glickman.
The next fundraising event will be the annual game day plus boutique and lunch on Jan. 17 at Indian Wells Country Club. In the meantime, Hidden Harvest seeks and welcomes new members. To volunteer, make a donation or find out more, visit hiddenharvest.org, call (760) 398-8183 or contact Skenezny for membership information at (760) 766-6858 or via n[email protected].
Carole Stephen-Smith has lived in the desert for more than 30 years. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, she began writing in London and has been a regular contributor to The Desert Sun for six years.