Too Ripe for Stores, Just Right to Eat

Ripe Cantaloupes

Ripe Cantaloupes

A grocery store rejected these cantaloupes, so the truck driver found himself with a BIG problem! He had another load to pick up across town in two hours, and his truck was full — with 42,000 pounds of beautiful cantaloupes the grocery manager just said were too ripe to sell.

The truck driver phoned his dispatcher, and the dispatcher called the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA). Could we find somewhere to re-route the truck driver, so he could offload the cantaloupes and still meet his schedule?

SoSA Program Coordinator Charlie Overton

SoSA Program Coordinator Charlie Overton

Charlie Overton, SoSA’s Tennessee Program Coordinator, hung up the phone and went to work. Within a few minutes, he identified and contacted a partner agency less than ten miles from the truck driver. The agency had a loading dock, a forklift, and room to store 42 bins of cantaloupes temporarily. One phone call to the agency got the okay, and another phone call back to the dispatcher got the truck driver on his way.

That second phone call — the one to the dispatcher — revealed that a second load of cantaloupes had been rejected nearby, for the same reason! The cantaloupes simply didn’t have enough shelf life for the grocery store chain to stock them. One more phone call, and the second truck driver headed to Feed America First in Murfreesboro, which worked with Joseph’s Storehouse to get them all distributed.

Within the hour, BOTH truck drivers had empty trailers. They drove on to their next pick ups and kept their schedules. The truck drivers logged their miles and the trucking company didn’t miss its jobs.

Joseph’s Storehouse in Lebanon, Tennessee now had 84,000 pounds of nutritious cantaloupes to share with hungry people throughout Middle Tennessee — an unexpected blessing!

Their director made a few phone calls, and soon soup kitchens, shelters, and food pantries throughout the area arrived to pick up cantaloupes. Some agencies could use only a few cantaloupes, and others could quickly share thousands of pounds of cantaloupes.

But by mid-afternoon, all the cantaloupes were parceled out to direct-service agencies that would either give them directly to hungry families or serve them to hungry guests at a meal within the next few days.

That’s about a quarter-million servings of highly nutritious food kept out of a landfill and shared with our hungry neighbors simply because the Society of St. Andrew was there to connect the trucking company with a nearby feeding agency/nonprofit food warehouse.

So here’s how this played out earlier in September 2015:

• The farmer who grew the cantaloupes received a receipt of charitable donation for his taxes for the 84,000 pounds of cantaloupes. His rejected loads actually provided some return for him—at least enough to cover the transportation costs. If the loads had gone to a landfill, the farmer would have received nothing.

• The truck drivers made their schedule and all their loads were delivered on time. They received their full pay for all the miles they’d been promised.

• The trucking company hauled every load it was contracted for; its customers were happy, and there was no disruption to business.

• 84,000 pounds of food stayed out of a landfill. Lower methane emissions (because the food wasn’t left there to rot) made the environment healthier.

• Dozens of Middle Tennessee nonprofit feeding agencies (soup kitchens, shelters, and food pantries) received highly nutritious food to share with their clients at no charge to agencies or clients.

• Food received at no charge freed up their agency budgets for other critical needs, whether that was purchasing meat, dairy, or eggs for client meals or providing more bus tokens for job seekers or low-income workers.

• Hungry children, young people, men, women, and seniors throughout Middle Tennessee had a quarter-million servings of highly nutritious and very tasty fruit in their diets over the next several days.

Every one of these amazing impacts happened because of donors like YOU. When you give to the Society of St. Andrew, you set miracles like this into motion. Thank you!



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.