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Capitol Hunger Garden Breaks Ground for Fifth Season

Legislators, administration officials, anti-hunger advocates, volunteer gardeners and others today broke ground on the 2014 Capitol Hunger Garden. This is the fifth year for the garden, which yields about 1,000 pounds of nutritious produce that is harvested and donated to emergency food providers.

Groundbreaking for 1,000-square-foot garden, located on the side of the Main Capitol Building near the Matthew J. Ryan Office Building, was hosted by Hunger Caucus co-Chairmen Sen. Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster) and Rep. Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny).

The group also announced that the second annual Capitol All-Stars Softball Game will take place Sept. 23 at Metro Bank Park, home of the Harrisburg Senators. Proceeds from the charity game will benefit Feeding Pennsylvania and Hunger-Free Pennsylvania.

The official “bat toss” for team captains to draft players for the East and West teams will be held June 4 in the Capitol. Details about the game can be found at www.capitolallstars.com or on Facebook at Facebook.com/CapitolAllStars. Viewers also will be able to follow the action on game day on Twitter using the hashtag #PAHungerGame.

“With the hunger garden and the charity softball game, you see a very real and concerted effort among leaders at every level to ensure Pennsylvania families get the resources they need,” said Joe Arthur, executive director of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and a member of both Hunger-Free Pennsylvania and Feeding Pennsylvania.

At the garden, which debuted in 2010, legislative and anti-hunger volunteers began turning the soil and planting the seeds with hope for another successful harvest. Throughout growing season, residents can check the progress of the garden on Twitter at @PAHungerGarden.

Topsoil, seeds and other supplies are donated by local farms, agricultural suppliers and private individuals, and the garden is maintained by volunteers, including Master Gardeners from Penn State Cooperative Extension. There is no cost to taxpayers.

“There are some sure signs that spring has finally arrived, and groundbreaking for the Capitol Hunger Garden is among them,” said Sheila Christopher, executive director of Hunger-Free Pennsylvania. “I garden at home, but this small plot holds greater meaning because of the awareness it raises and the purposes it serves.”

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