Seniors Rescue Unwanted Food
Senior Gleaners of San Diego County Gleaners Relief ESCONDIDO, CA
“I put in a lot of heavy hours, so some days I can hardly walk,” says Ann Evans (pictured left, wearing a hat), a retired Associate in Ministry who volunteers at Senior Gleaners of San Diego County. “But I forget about my pain when I see the excitement of the volunteers and the people [we] help.”
Senior Gleaners of San Diego County was organized in 1992 to tap into the skills of senior volunteers (age 55 and over) in gleaning excess food that would otherwise be destroyed—food found in area fields, grocery stores, and packing sheds. The collected food is then distributed to 45 food-giving agencies in San Diego County, which in turn make the food and fresh produce available to people living in poverty.
Ann, a member of Ascension Lutheran Church in San Diego, is a volunteer coordinator for the South County portion of Senior Gleaners. She supervises 55 volunteers on a daily basis and has been involved in the program since its beginning. Most Gleaners work once a week for about four hours, but Ann is the exception, usually putting in a seven-day week despite arthritis. “My doctor says I should quit,” Ann confesses, “but God lets me do it!”
In 2006, more than 5,500 clients (from babies to senior citizens) were served by Senior Gleaners. The 65 senior volunteers worked for 10,000 hours to collect and distribute nearly 500,000 pounds of food.
ELCA World Hunger—through the domestic hunger grants program—recently awarded a grant to Senior Gleaners to fight hunger in the United States. The domestic hunger grants program is one primary way your gifts impact people who are hungry in the United States.
—Material for this story was contributed by M. Laurel Gray,
President of Senior Gleaners of San Diego County