How to Feed Hungry People Every Day

– A story worth repeating, and repeating

Gleaners in the field.

Members of the New Creation Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee glean at the Green Door Gourmet Farm.

It seems so simple. About forty people scatter across a field that’s covered by rows of leafy plants. They talk with each other, and laugh sometimes, as they pick kale. This bucolic scene is a common one for volunteers with the Society of St. Andrew. It happens thousands of times a year, in fields and orchards from the Gulf states of Florida and Mississippi, to the upper plains of Michigan and the hills of New York State.

That’s part of the draw for tens of thousands of SoSA volunteers each year. They spend a morning outside, working with old friends and meeting new ones. They get some fresh air, and they exert themselves to collect the very freshest fruits and vegetables to help feed the poor, the elderly, and the hungry children of their communities. This group’s pleasant morning in the field it is only one chapter in a story that is begun and completed almost every day of the year. On this day in July, the story will end with homeless men and women from the streets of Nashville receiving the comfort of caring people, and food prepared just for them.

This story actually began weeks earlier, when the Green Door Gourmet farm, an urban farm in Nashville, Tennessee, planted a field of organic kale that would mature into a crop available for their own restaurant and for other restaurants in the city. Now with more kale than they need, they contact SoSA to donate the surplus.

The families of New Creation Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee answer the call. As part of their commitment of caring, they volunteer to gather at the Nashville farm to collect the generous donation and make it available to a suitable feeding organization. A few adults and many youth gather to learn which rows to glean and what the process will be. Then they set to work, gathering dozens of large bags of kale.

Two homeless men being served a meal.

Two homelss men receive a meal at Nashville Rescue Mission, which provides 1,600 meals every day. (Photos courtesy of the Nashville Rescue Mission.)

The receiving agency this day will be the Nashville Rescue Mission, which sends its own truck to pick up the food from the field. This mission has fed, clothed, and sheltered homeless men in Nashville since 1954. It opened its unit for homeless women and children in 1968. The mission houses people at night, provides education during the day, and serves more than 1,600 meals every day at its three kitchens.

In the final chapter of this story – at the end of the day – hundreds of homeless people are fed. Each day’s story is a little different … varying by farm, volunteer groups, receiving agencies, and clients. Yet, each day’s stories are dedicated to the final chapter … feeding hungry people in cities and towns wherever there are farms, volunteers, feeding agencies, and hungry people. It’s a story always worth telling!

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VOLUNTEER WAIVER

In the event I, or a registered family member, suffers any illness or accident requiring emergency hospitalization, medication, or other medical assistance while participating in a gleaning event, permission is given for any medical treatment which is deemed necessary and reasonable under the circumstances. I fully understand and comprehend that reasonable care will be exercised by the adult staff for this gleaning event to protect the safety of those involved. I understand that the field supervisor’s instructions must be followed at all times, and that I am responsible for any damages caused to fields, farms, or equipment by me/my family members not following these instructions.

Photos, videos, and other images in which I, or a registered family member, appear that are taken during gleanings may be used by the Society of St. Andrew for news coverage, newsletters, reports, displays, and for other print, broadcast, web, or electronic news or promotional purposes.

I do not hold the board, members, or employees of the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA,) or any volunteers liable for injury, bodily harm, accidents, or death of myself/my child during events sponsored by the Society of St. Andrew. Neither will I hold the person(s) who owns and/or operates the property from which we glean, salvage, or to which we deliver food, liable for accidents, injury, or death during the gleanings or other SoSA events.

For a PDF print version of this waiver, click here.

How the Story of the 12 Baskets is Connected to SoSA’s Name

Matthew 14:16-21

But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.

2 Kings 4:42-44

[…]the man of God […] said, “Give them to the people that they may eat.” His attendant said, “What, will I set this before a hundred men?” But he said, “Give them to the people that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left over.’” So he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.