‘Webb House kids’ spend half day as volunteer melon pickers

A crew of four middle school students who regularly spend time at the Webb House answered a call for help last Saturday and spent the morning harvesting cantaloupe for the Food Bank of Iowa.

Webb House director Jim North explained that Tracy Blackmer of Madrid has an 11-acre garden devoted to raising produce for the Iowa Gardening for Good project. Over the course of the season, close to 2,000 volunteers, including Madrid students, work in the garden. The produce is all donated to the Food Bank of Iowa, which in turn distributes food to food banks in 55 counties, including Greene.
Blackmer staged the cantaloupe planning for a four-week harvest, but the hot, rainy weather changed that. “The melons were going to rot in the garden if it didn’t get picked pretty quickly,” North said.

Blackmer called his mother Dianne Blackmer, who called North hoping some “Webb House kids” would help. He put out a call and Landyn Venteicher, Mason Happe, Gabe Fincel and Matthew Hovick responded. North and the boys picked melons from 8:30 to noon Saturday, harvesting more than 3,500 pounds.

Jim North and “Webb House kids” (from left) Landyn Venteicher, Mason Happe, Gabe Fincel, and Matthew Hovick picked four crates of cantaloupe for the Food Bank of Iowa last Saturday morning.

“It was wet and muddy and there were a lot of mosquitos,” North said. “It touches my heart that the kids would do that, especially on a holiday weekend.”

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