First Basin's Backyard Garden donation of 2022 comes from grocery store

three smiling women
MiKayla Mittelsteadt, Basin Electric accounting analyst II (center), and Ashley Sundquist, Basin Electric senior accounting analyst (right), donated fresh fruits and vegetables to Heavens Helpers Soup Cafe.

Basin's Backyard Garden is going #HomeGrown again in 2022.

Gardeners don't have anything ready to donate from their gardens just yet, and there were no donations during the first collection of the year.

Ashley Sundquist, Basin Electric senior accounting analyst, and MiKayla Mittelsteadt, Basin Electric accounting analyst II, had volunteered to be veggie taxi drivers for the week. Veggie taxi drivers haul collected donations from Basin Electric Headquarters to a chosen food pantry or soup kitchen each week.

When they saw there was no donations, they took to their grocery shopping carts. "There were no donations, so we each purchased some items to bring to Heavens Helpers Soup Cafe. We bought onions, potatoes, carrots, colored peppers, cucumbers, apples, tomatoes, and broccoli," Sundquist says.

In total, the pair donated about $50 worth of fresh food. "I love that Ashley and MiKayla decided to go the extra mile and make sure we had a donation our first week out," says Tracie Bettenhausen, garden coordinator. "That kind of dedication and care bodes well for the rest of the summer."

Sundquist says when they dropped off the donation, there was a group of missionaries from Life Wesleyan Church in Williamston, Michigan, at the cafe. "They were very appreciative of our donation," Sundquist says.

Background: For six years, Basin's Backyard Garden volunteers rolled up their sleeves over their lunch hours and breaks and put in the manpower to plant, tend, harvest, and donate food for people who needed it.

From 2014-2019, garden volunteers donated about 3,000 pounds of fresh vegetables to local food pantries.

In 2020, the garden took a break due to COVID-19. Coming back in 2021, the garden went #Homegrown.

That means the garden and its volunteers are doing their good work in a little different way. The garden isn't grown on site at Basin Electric. During designated times, employees bring in their extra veggies to give and one volunteer hauls the donation to a local food pantry.

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