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St. Ambrose University students helping families in need of food

Students are partnering with People Uniting Neighbors and Churches, or P.U.N.C.H., to grow fruits and vegetables in Davenport community garden.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — According to Food Rescue Partnership, a Quad Cities coalition that promotes rescuing food for its best use, 15.2% of Quad Citizens are living in a food desert, and a group of St. Ambrose University students are looking to help.

A food desert is defined as an area in which it's difficult to afford or buy good-quality food. 

The students are partnering with People Uniting Neighbors and Churches, or P.U.N.C.H., to help plant fruits and vegetables for families in need. The community garden is located at First Baptist Church, 1401 N Perry St, Davenport, Iowa.

News 8's Charles Hart spoke with SAU student Zack Olkiewicz who said they're focused on two goals while being involved with the community garden- reducing hunger and growing food.

"The justice aspect is knocking out food hunger, and making gardens like this is more sustainable for the future," Olkiewicz said. "That's why we're building it up. That's why people are so grateful because yeah, they've known about it [the community gardens], but it hasn't been built up like this. We helped expand it almost two times the size of it was last year."

This is the first year SAU students have partnered with P.U.N.C.H. for the community garden, but the organization has been doing these gardens for over a decade.

News 8's Charles Hart also spoke with P.U.N.C.H. Vice President June Dominacki who said they're trying to help people live a healthier life.

"It's hard to get those [good-quality foods] and with the pandemic, it was even harder to get a lot of them in this way. A lot of them are invested, they'll come and pull weeds and then they come and pick what they need," Dominacki said.

P.U.N.C.H. said anyone can come to these community gardens to pick out fruits and vegetables. They are located on 14th Street between Perry and Pershing.

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