Gleaning Made Simple

5,780 pounds – that is how much corn 20 Sam’s Club Managers and personnel  gleaned at Long and Scott Farms in just over 3 hours!  Armed with sunscreen, headphones and some friendly competitive banter, the spirited team from Sam’s Club rocked their mission this past Friday – to pick as much corn as possible in the time allotted.

After a brief lesson in corn gleaning from the Society of St. Andrew (SOSA), the group grabbed their buckets, went out into the field and got to work. SOSA works with growers, volunteers and food providers to coordinate the gleaning and distribution of leftover crops after harvesting. Across their entire network, over 15 million pounds of fresh nutritious produce is collected by SOSA volunteers each year.

Before you knew it, everyone had dispersed into their rows, only the very tops of their heads visible between the stalks.  One by one, the volunteers tirelessly picked and delivered corn by the bucket load to the collection trucks.  Additional volunteers were staged at each truck to neatly bag the piles of corn for easy distribution.  Once the 3 hours were up, the group came out to the food bank to drop off the freshly picked corn, and to take a tour of our facility.  Within just hours of its arrival, the corn was picked up by our partner agencies, giving the group a sense of just how quickly donations are distributed.

Sam’s Club is an important contributor to the food bank’s Grocery Alliance Program.  The program, which operates by sending out a fleet of 10 refrigerated trucks daily, collects thousands of pounds of unsaleable, but perfectly consumable products from area retailers.  It is an innovative program that provides access to nutritious and otherwise expensive grocery products.  In 2010/2011, the 11 Central Florida Sam’s Club locations donated the equivalent of over 626,000 meals for our neighbors in need.

Thank you, Sam’s Club, for your amazing commitment to the fight against hunger in Central Florida!

Photos from the day:

Lauren Moskowitz
Grocery Alliance Program Manager

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