It has been a fantastic growing season in Washington and many gardeners are harvesting a big crop of fresh food.

It is in stark contrast to recent statistics released by the USDA saying hunger in Washington state is now above the national average. From 2008 to the end of 2011 the number of hungry families grew from about 88,000 to 163,000.

These numbers are not surprising to people that work at foodbanks.

We're currently serving around 1100 families per week at the U-district foodbank and that's a record number for us said Joe Gruber, Director at the University District foodbank.

We think that one-in-four kids in the state of Washington lives in a household that sometimes during the month struggles to put food on the table said Linda Stone, Food Policy Director at Children's Alliance.

In the neighborhood pea patch volunteer gardeners are trying to help. Green thumbs around the city are growing an extra row of vegetables in their own gardens for a program called Lettuce Link.

One of the main things we do is connect folks who are gardeners either in pea patches or in their backyard with their local foodbanks and emergency meal programs said Mike Buchman, Communications Director for Solid Ground.

They do it by providing resources for volunteer gardeners like seeds, plant starts and growing tips. They will also come and pick up the crop and deliver it to the foodbank.

The plea is simple; as you plant your fall crops, plant an extra row for Seattle's hungry.

When you donate food you feel good and boy the people who receive it really appreciate it said Buchman.

It's very good sharing our food that we grow ourselves with other people said Lalit Kraushaar, volunteer gardener.

A healthy hobby that is helping provide healthy options to those that need it most.

Related link:

Solid Ground - Lettuce Link

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