More than 18 tons of food were collected June 11 for the Food Project, which celebrated its second anniversary this month.

More than 18 tons of food were collected June 11 for the Food Project, which celebrated its second anniversary this month.

What started as a handful of volunteers in Ashland has grown to a small army of people donating time and food in four cities, making the Food Project one of Jackson County's largest volunteer organizations. About 280 families pick up bags of food from nearly 4,000 households in Ashland, Medford, Talent and Phoenix every other month.

Here are the June results:

Ashland: 18,362 pounds

Medford area: 14,224 pounds

Talent: 3,385 pounds

Phoenix: 492 pounds

Total: 36,463 pounds

The Food Project was founded in 2009 and has been picking up food every two months since then. It expanded to the Talent area about 18 months ago and to the Medford area in February.

Volunteers in the program distribute reusable green bags to their neighbors, who then buy one extra nonperishable item each week and store it in the bag. Every two months, volunteers pick up the bags of food and leave empty bags so neighbors can start saving food again.

Since it started, the Food Project has collected more than 310,000 pounds of food for agencies that distribute emergency food supplies.

In the Medford area, which includes Jacksonville and Central Point, the food goes to 18 agencies, including ACCESS Inc., the Northwest Seasonal Workers, the Maslow Project, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Kids Unlimited and the Medford Gospel Mission. In Ashland, the food goes to the Ashland Emergency Food Bank, which distributes it to it clients and other agencies. In Talent and Phoenix, the recipients are the Talent Food Bank and a Phoenix food pantry. For more information or to join as a pickup volunteer or a food donor, email foodproject@opendoor.com.