The Power of One

By Liz Sheahan *

She found herself in rural Alabama with a bunch of newly–found friends learning about hunger and waste, and picking black-eyed pears for the hungry people of that rural area. And she wasn’t from that area – by any stretch.

Lesley Huffaker

Lesley Huffaker, photo courtesy Eagle Newspapers

Dr. Lesley Huffaker, a resident of the San Diego area, is a grandma, cancer survivor, and retired special ed teacher specializing in advocating for kids with dyslexia. At church one Sunday morning in 2008, she read a flyer about Society of St. Andrew – it was the first time she’d heard of our organization. The mission of feeding our hungry neighbors through gleaning really resonated with her, and she felt compelled to learn more. After a long phone conversation with a SoSA staff member, she decided to participate in a Harvest of Hope inter-generational weekend.

The closest event, and one that fit into her calendar, took her to a town south of Birmingham, AL. She wound her way through the back roads to find the YMCA lodge where the group would be staying. She met the other participants, which included a youth group from Northern Indiana, and other people who, like her, felt called to do their part in eradicating hunger and malnourishment in America. They were together for a short weekend, but it was filled with powerful education, service, and worship. They left with relationships that would last for years.

Harvest of Hope, one of SoSA’s core programs, is a mission/service experience designed to engage participants in the issues of hunger and waste, and help them make a commitment to being part of the solution moving forward. Held in a variety of locations (wherever there’s gleaning, affordable facilities, and interest available), there are events for senior high groups, middle school groups, alternative spring breaks for college students, and inter-generational weekends (in which Lesley participated). Each event incorporates small and large group discussions about hunger and waste, field gleaning and interfaith worship – culminating with each participant making a covenant to make a difference when they return home. Harvest of Hope is an introduction to service.

Lesley returned to California on fire – ready to make a difference. The next summer, during Vacation Bible School at her church, Foothills UMC in La Mesa, CA, SoSA was chosen as the mission program for the week-long offering the children collected each day. “One little boy brought his piggy bank to share in the group gathering time, and spilled out 37 dollars,” exclaimed Lesley. “All the kids got inspired, so much so that the total for SoSA that week came to an even $1,000.00! Hunger was talked about a lot that week.”that fire hasn’t died down in the years since her introduction to SoSA. Lesley has encouraged others in her church to get involved in the fight against hunger, and is actively working to get even more activity going. Last year, her family used the SoSA Christmas Cards, helping friends learn more about the opportunity to make an impact through this organization. She tells everyone she can about SoSA and the difference they can make in the lives of those in need, and works to connect leaders of organizations and churches with our mission, in hopes they’ll expand the work even further. In addition, she submits devotions for the SoSA Advent and Lenten Devotionals.

“When people understand the very low operating costs of SoSA, they become very excited to realize how possible it is to feed so many hungry people,” stated Lesley when reflecting on her experience telling others about the organization. “With more and more people becoming involved in SoSA, it offers the true possibility to eradicate hunger!”

Liz Sheahan was SoSA’s Director of Transformational Gifts


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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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