The Public Works Center directed a sweet donation of about 120 pounds of raw honey to the local food pantry, Beyond Hunger, on Sept. 13. The honey came from the center’s two rooftop beehives.
According to Forestry Superintendent Robert Sproule, the center donated its entire harvest to the pantry. One 6-ounce jar was given to each of 175 participating households. This is the second year the pantry received a honey donation from the center. Sproule estimates the retail value of this year’s donation to be around $1,500, not including jar costs.
“Our clients were so delighted to receive that item,” said Teri Miller, Beyond Hunger’s development director. “Honey is a really expensive luxury item and if you are living on a really small income, you’re not going to spend $4 on honey when you can buy almost a pound of ground beef for $4.”
Beyond Hunger’s registered dieticians explained to the recipients that the honey came from local bees and was gifted by the Public Works Center. The dieticians also described the nutritional benefits of honey and how to use it as a sugar substitute.
“You can imagine how happy they were to receive such a gift,” said Miller.
The amount of honey the center’s bees produced this year exceeded the 120-pound donation, but the center only harvests a portion. “We left more than we took out of all the hives to make sure that they have enough stores,” said Sproule. During winter, bees subsist on the honey produced from the past summer.
“This is the fourth season of having hives,” said Sproule. The village set up the hives to propagate the rapidly declining honeybee population. Honeybees pollinate more plants than any other insect or bee, making them an integral part of the ecosystem. Village Hall also has two rooftop beehives, established a couple of years after the two at the center.
Public Works uses The Hive, a Chicago-based beekeeping supply store, to extract and bottle the honey. The Hive also maintains the center’s apiary, ensuring the busy bees stay buzzing.