The power of one green bag was demonstrated Saturday as The Mother Lode Food Project participants collected 3,332 pounds of food and $513 cash donations pushing their eight-year totals to 201,839 pounds (100 tons) of food and $14,060 in cash donations. 

The project, founded by retired Sonora High teacher Sue Mundy and retired Sonora High School counselor Ellen Beck, is modeled after the Ashland Food Project in Oregon and has been copied in many states throughout the country. 

Beck, of Sonora, said, “The key to the success of the Mother Lode Food Project is the green bag pick up at people's front door,” which happens the second Saturday of every even-numbered month such as February, April, June. 

Food Project donors purchase an extra non-perishable item or two during their grocery trips and place them in their green bag throughout a two-month period. On pick-up day, they set it on their front stoop or driveway for a neighborhood coordinator to pick up and deliver to the ATCAA Food Bank in Jamestown “making it as easy as possible for them to donate,” said Beck. 

Once transported to ATCAA Food Bank, the bags are emptied, sorted, the food is weighed and ATCAA distributes it to food pantries throughout the county. 

The next green bag collection is on April 11. 

To learn more, or to sign up to be a donor for the Mother Lode Food Project, go online to or call Beck at (209) 532-8609 or Mundy at (209) 586-3642. Monetary donations are also accepted. If you or someone you know needs food assistance, call the ATCAA food bank at (209) 984-3960, or go online to

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