The Power of One Deed

By Jean Blish Siers *

A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed. Although I don’t have a drop of Norwegian blood in me, being raised in Minnesota makes me appreciate all things Scandinavian. Well, most things; I’m still not big on lutefisk. So I was thrilled when my husband and I recently had a chance to attend Ibsen Fest in the tiny town of Lanesboro, MN. To honor the Norwegian heritage of their area, the actors at the impressive Commonweal Theatre Company each year stage a Henrik Ibsen play. The wonderful theater production of Ibsen’s political satire The League of Youth was coupled with lots of Norwegian food and enlightening programs, and it made for a fun homecoming for me!

Ibsen is considered by many to be the father of modern theater, and he wrote more than 25 plays, most of them dramas. In learning a bit more about Ibsen that weekend, I stumbled on a couple quotes that  fit well what we do at Society of St. Andrew. The first is from his play Brand, about a troubled priest: “A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed.”   It caught my eye as similar to SoSA’s motto: “In Truth and In Deed.” I love wearing that saying on my tee-shirt in the fields, a constant reminder that we don’t just talk about hunger; we are called to do something about it. Our actions say a lot about us.  Are we a people who let food go to waste while other are in need? Or are we people who see a problem, roll up our sleeves, and try to make a difference?

Never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth. And the second quote? It’s a little more fun, but also important to what we do at SoSA. It’s from his play, Enemy of the People: “Never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth.” If you work in a field, you’re going to get dirty. If you’re sorting a truckload of potatoes at a church potato drop, at some point you’ll grab a rotten one. We don’t wear our best trousers (or shoes or jackets) when we fight to feed the hungry, because we know the work isn’t about us and how we look. Another adage says, “Clothes don’t make the man.”  It’s not about appearances. It’s about getting nutritious food to those who need it most, as often as we can.

* Jean Blish Siers is SoSA’s Charlotte Area Gleaning Coordinator.



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.