The H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, in partnership with CBS Local 2, presented its first Coachella Valley Spotlight grant of 2013. The $25,000 went to Hidden Harvest, a local 501(c)3 organization that rescues fresh produce from area fields that would otherwise go to waste and gives it to valley residents in need.

“I appreciate it,” said Ione Strege, a senior in La Quinta who enjoys the free farmers market that Hidden Harvest sets-up at her low-income apartment complex each month. “A lot of these things I wouldn’t have without this group. I don’t go to the store that often.”

“Hidden Harvest is doing amazing things in our neighborhoods, which are being recognized nationally,” said Christopher McGuire, Vice President of Programs for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. “We are proud to support their efforts of feeding our valley’s hungry with a unique approach.”

Hidden Harvest’s win-win solution not only gives millions of vegetables and fruits a second life and thousands of families healthy meals, but it also employs the working poor to glean produce left in local farmers’ fields after their harvests. Nearly 1.2 million pounds of produce is harvested each year through this innovative program. More than 45,000 residents receive fresh food from Hidden Harvest each month.

“Because of the support of our organization’s board, which covers our administration costs, one hundred percent of contributions, like the generous Coachella Valley Spotlight grant from the Berger Foundation, go directly to services,” said Christy Porter, Founder and Executive Director of Hidden Harvest.

Eleven more Coachella Valley Spotlight grants will be awarded throughout the year, and the stories of each nonprofit will be featured on CBS Local 2’s program “Eye on the Desert.” The remaining 2013 recipients are Camp of Champions, Unforgettables, Tools for Tomorrow, Desert Friends of the Developmentally Disabled, Soldiers Organized Services (SOS), Friends of Roy’s Foundation, Galilee Center, California State University-San Bernardino, Palm Desert Campus, Services of the Desert/Food Now, Ranch Recovery Center, Desert Blind & Handicapped.

“We are proud of the diverse needs the Coachella Valley Spotlight will reach in our community this year,” said Mike Stutz, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates CBS Local 2. “By showcasing these nonprofits, it is our hope that others will give what time and money they can or find an organization that can help them.”

To raise community awareness of organizations and their programs, CBS Local 2 also features Coachella Valley Spotlight recipients in public service announcements and on the www.cbslocal2.com website. For more information about Hidden Harvest go to www.hiddenharvest.org.