GleanSLO trained a dozen Neighborhood Harvest Leaders earlier this year to lead small gleans in their neighborhoods. During these summer months, stone fruit is ripening early… and all at once… all over the county. We are averaging over 10 gleans/week! With minimal support from staff, Neighborhood Harvest Leaders take charge of the small gleans, gather the equipment they need, meet a handful of other volunteers and make sure everyone is safe and having fun while picking the extra fruit. They deliver the rescued produce to a nearby food pantry.
GleanSLO staff relies heavily on the dedication of these Neighborhood Harvest Leaders to get the job done! Here’s a word from Deborah Berger:
1. Why are you interested in gleaning?
“Because I love to cook with fresh produce and eat lots of fresh fruit, and I am aware that not everybody can afford these. I don’t like any kind of wasting and I am happy to contribute to honoring nature’s abundance.”
2. How did you first make contact with GleanSLO?
“Right after I moved from Germany to the USA I wanted to do some volunteer work in order to meet people and be of use for the community, a friend told me about GleanSLO and I signed up on the website and became a gleaner.”
3. What is your favorite part about neighborhood harvests?
“To see different backyards, there’s so much beauty and so much hard work to be admired and people who donate are grateful to see their produce being used for a good cause.”
4. How does gleaning make you feel?
“I love the physical work and that it lasts only 2 or 3 hours, I love being connected to earth and plants and the other gleaners – there are so many interesting people among gleaners, and it’s wonderful to meet them again at another glean.”
5. Have you ever been at a distribution or seen the food you picked be received by a food pantry or hungry family? What was that like?
“I was delivering food to 2 different places, AIDS Support Network and Salvation Army, and it feels good to be appreciated and welcomed by those who distribute the food to hungry people.”
6. Anything else you’d like to share?
“I like the organisation of GleanSLO, the ease and the friendly connections with everybody I’ve met so far. There’s a lot of smiles and laughter to be seen and heard.”
If you would like to become a Neighborhood Harvest Leader, we’ll be training the next group of NHL’s on Saturday, August 23rd. Save the date and stay tuned for more details!