The Inside Matters Most

By Jean Blish Siers *

WatermelonsI have a small scar on my neck where a very talented surgeon did a biopsy more than twenty years ago. She told me, drawing a line with a pen, “I’m going to cut right here because as you age, that line will just become a wrinkle anyway and the scar will be invisible.” That wasn’t a lot of comfort. Not only was I worried about my health (the lymph node was benign, thankfully,) but I also had to worry about a scar. And a wrinkly neck!

Over the years, I’ve learned to accept and embrace the various scars I’ve acquired, as well as my gray hair and wrinkles, as proof that, while I’ve lived through a lot, I’ve gotten, hopefully, better with age.

I’ve been thinking about scars this past week. I got a call about 4,800 pounds of watermelons that had been rejected by a local grocery store. The reason? They had some scarring on their rinds. Apparently, when they were young and tender (like I had been!), a windstorm passed by. The vines brushing against the fruit makes tiny cuts on them. The fruit heals and grows just fine, but they don’t look perfect.

Do you know how easy it is to find new homes for 4,800 pounds of watermelon during one of the first warm spells in May? Ridiculously easy, is the answer. Within fifteen minutes, I had six drivers lined up to get a load over the following two days.

According the Watermelon Nutrition Board, watermelons are full of great nutrients. A cup of watermelon contains 21% of our recommended intake of Vitamin C, 18% of our Vitamin A, and lots and lots of the antioxidant Lycopene, which has many health benefits. Plus, it’s just really delicious.

I took a load to Friendship Trays, our meals on wheels agency, and as we unloaded them from my car, volunteers waited inside to wash them and chop them to go out on trays the next day, and for many days to come. A couple bins went to a local soup kitchen. One bin went to a low-income neighborhood without a grocery store.

Refugee Support ServicesAnd one bin went to our regular delivery site, Refugee Support Services. Our newest neighbors get a lot of crazy produce from us – literally tons of chayote and parsley root and other things that most of us would scratch our heads over. And they’re great sports about figuring out what to do with it and how to make it work in their diets. But how wonderful for them to get a bin of easily understood and delicious to eat watermelon! It was, literally, fun for the whole family.

Scars on the outside don’t tell us about how good something is. We move a lot of food at Society of St. Andrew, food that grocers and packing houses deem unworthy because of scarring, size, shape, or other minor issues, but which brings better health to our community, one load at a time. It’s what’s inside that matters.

*Jean Blish Siers is SoSA’s gleaning coordinator in the Charlotte, North Carolina area.


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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.

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