June 20, 2012 - The Gold Country Gleaners, a local organization that pairs resources of excess food with people in need, is ready to kick off another successful year. After harvesting nearly two tons of food last year and donating it to local charities, the all-volunteer organization is setting sights even higher.
In previous efforts, the "Gleaners" harvested almost exclusively tree fruit. Due to expanding coordination and donor needs, they are additionally able to harvest and distribute vegetables and berries this year. Since this spring, the Gleaners have already picked up and distributed several pounds of lettuce, cabbage, kale, turnips and more to places like Hospitality House, the local homeless shelter and Women of Worth, the local domestic violence shelter.
"Often times our local farmers are not able to sell their product for whatever reason," explains Talei Hoblizell, a donor coordinator for the gleaners. "We can step in with volunteers to harvest the extra food, freeing up time and space for our local farms. We then donate the food to those in need in our community. The program's benefits are many-fold."
The Gleaners are also expanding the life of their harvest and ability to donate by preserving and canning part of the harvest when donors are not ready to immediately accept fresh produce. "We want to make sure that we are making the most of our local resources and meeting the needs of our local charities," says volunteer Hilary Hodge, "This year we are incorporating canning and preserving so that our donations can be stretched as far as possible and so that the needs of our community are met."
Donations of canning jars, lids, pectin and white wine vinegar can be dropped off at California Solar Electric Company at 10141 Evening Star Drive in Grass Valley (next to the Re-Store) Monday-Friday 8am-3pm. If you would like to donate but need to arrange for a pick-up, email email@example.com or call 530-264-8680.
For those who wish to be directly involved, The Gleaners are hosting their first informative meeting of the season on June 24th at the Briar Patch Community Room from 11am-1pm. Everyone is welcome and no prior experience is needed. For more information, to sign up for volunteer opportunities, or if you know that you will have a surplus of fruits or vegetables sometime this year, go to http://www.goldcountrygleaners.org
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