In April, three new and energetic program coordinators began their work with SoSA, coordinating volunteers to gather food for the hungry. Jewel Scruggs started work in Alabama, Kelsey King in Tennessee, and Andy Lemmon in Mississippi. Here, Andy reflects on the experience of discovering so many volunteers doing so much to help others:
Our farmers for this turnip-gleaning event work full-time jobs during the week and fill their “free time” with growing crops and maintaining their small farm. They have graciously donated the roots from their turnip crop for our gleaning event. After several rain-outs, our day finally came. The weather was sunny and dry all week.
That Saturday morning began with sunshine and a comfortable 72 degrees. It was eye-opening for us all that so much food go to waste on even a small farm like this one. One volunteer said he was happy that this food gives us an opportunity to reach out and care for our neighbors. We started gleaning “assembly line style” with each person handling a different phase of the process: gathering, transporting, sorting, bagging. We then transitioned to “group work” where we all worked on the same phase of the process at the same time to increase our yield. By the end of the morning, our volunteer team had settled into a rhythm. We had a blast and rescued fresh food that would otherwise have been wasted.
We distributed close to 450 pounds of turnip roots to hunger relief organizations throughout the Greater Jackson Area. Since each pound of food yields about three servings, our farmers and volunteers gleaned a little more than 1300 servings of food in just four hours.
The produce, the farmers, and our volunteers are blessings. We are confident that the hunger relief agencies that picked up the food will use it to help those in need – both physically and emotionally.
We are called to live out our faith and truly love our neighbors as we love ourselves. I saw this in the volunteers’ attitudes and words – they acted as if this opportunity to volunteer had truly been a gift for them. If you would like to volunteer, or would like us to come speak at your congregation or organization in Mississippi, email me or call me at 769-233-0887.