The Brightside: Produce stand bringing Christmas joy to kids

FRUITLAND, Md. – It may be hot outside, but one Fruitland woman is already thinking of Christmas and how she can make it special for local kids.

“We got the idea in our heads to start doing everything we can to make Christmas great for local kids,” Debbie Ritterson said.

She’s not working alone, though. Her and her friend are in the holiday spirit together.

“My dear, dear friend Dom Sessa and I, last November, started seeing an influx of posts on social media and Facebook for people asking to adopt their family and adopt their kids for Christmas gifts,” she said.

So Debbie and Dom decided to make sure this Christmas, no family goes without. But doing that costs money, so the two are already taking advantage of the summertime and fresh gardens that comes along with it in an effort to raise some cash.

“This year, we decided we were going to do our little produce stand, and any funds we raised would go directly toward buying more Christmas gifts this year,” Debbie said.

But with only the two of them working behind the scenes, it’d be nearly impossible to grow all of these fruits and vegetables. That’s where Debbie says the community has stepped up in a big way.

“We’ve been very, very fortunate, one sweet, local man, Martin Hutchinson, dropped off a huge amount of local green beans and peppers that he grew,” Debbie said. “Wicomico High School dropped off all the rest, corn, peas, squash, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, green beans, I can’t even name everything, it’s absolutely amazing all of the donations that have come in.”

And even with signs up saying there are no set prices and people can pay what they think is fair, Debbie says she’s seen some real kindness from customers.

“Some people come and will buy an ear of corn and put an insane amount of money in there, so it’s just whatever people feel comfortable paying with 100% of every donation going toward our Christmas program,” Debbie said.

And with plenty of warm days still ahead of us, Debbie says she hopes the produce stand can bring in enough money to help dozens of kids.

“We want to keep it going up until at least the fall, so if anybody locally has excess in their garden, or perhaps a local farmer or business that would like to contribute, please reach out to either myself or Dominque and we’d be happy to take any donations,” Debbie said.

If you want to find the produce stand to either buy some goods or donate, you can contact Deborah on her Facebook page by searching Deborah Ritterson.

Categories: Brightside