More than 500 Salt Lake County families shared in the bounty from Utah gardens Sunday during the first day of the "Share the Harvest" program, sponsored by Utahns Against Hunger.

The program will continue for three more Sundays throughout the area.Utahns Against Hunger started the program nearly a decade ago to use surplus produce from area gardens to help feed a growing population of low-income families, many of whom cannot afford adequate fresh fruits and vegetables. The program has grown to include government surplus commodities and donations of food from local organizations and businesses.

According to Grady Walker, UAH, more produce will be needed for distribution during the next three weeks, and volunteers are also welcome to come help.

"The first Sunday is always the slowest because people haven't all heard about it. It will continue to grow (in the number of people served) each week.

"But we had a good supply of food. We didn't run out, and that has happened before."

About 25 volunteers at each of three sites in Salt Lake County distributed bags of food that included commodity corn meal and flour, rice, squash, plums, bananas (more than 4 tons were donated), tomatoes, beans, grapes, corn, onions, lettuce, pastries, pears and other items.

Walker said that any perishable items not distributed for "Share the Harvest" will be taken to area food banks and soup kitchens so that nothing will go to waste.

Food distribution will continue Aug. 28, Sept. 4 and Sept. 11 from 1-3 p.m. at three Salt Lake County locations: 21 G. Street; Westvale Presbyterian Church, 3610 S. 4400 West, West Valley City; and the United Steelworkers (Local 485) Union Hall, 54 N. Main, Midvale.

Walker suggests that food donations be dropped at the office, 21 G. Street, during the week or taken to any of the locations during the distribution hours on Sunday.

Food will also be distributed in Ogden, Provo and Price those days. For specific information on distribution points, or to find out about donating produce, call the Utahns Against Hunger office. In Salt Lake, call 328-2561. In other areas, call toll-free 1 (800) 453-3663.