harvesting for the hungry

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Gleaning into Retirement
Oct 08, 2019 by Ben Southworth

Some of GleanKY’s most active and vital volunteers are those who spend a considerable portion of their retirement helping us connect excess produce to those who need it. It turns out, many of our volunteers are also busy all over the area with other groups when they’re not out gleaning with us.

 

Recently, I was leading a small group of volunteers at UK’s Research Farm, when one of our volunteers asked if she could leave early – she was running straight from the farm to her shift at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. The following day, she told me she was going to squeeze in her weekly pickup for us from Costco between a shift at Radio Eye and her work as an advocate with CASA of Lexington. I had heard from many of our volunteers that ‘they were busier now that they were retired than they were when they had a job,’ but I was totally blown away by this kind of generosity to hear it laid out like that. She’s far from our only volunteer with this kind of schedule, though – a large portion of our core group of regular volunteers give generously of their retirement to our work, among many others throughout town.

 

It works out to be a good match for us and our volunteers – our gleaning schedule is available online, and provides a flexible way to volunteer during a time that works with your schedule. Plus, a large portion of our scheduled volunteer spots happen on weekdays, during working hours. So, knowing how valuable retirees are to the success of nonprofits like ours, we were excited to have a chance to table at the recent retiree fair, hosted by the University of Kentucky. Our Fayette County Coordinator, Jimmy Earley, was able to attend and had this to say:

 

‘I had a great day at the UK Retiree Fair! I was able to speak with scores of folks, many of whom knew about GleanKY already, and even more who were not yet aware of our work. As the majority of our volunteer opportunities are fulfilled by retirees, it seemed like a wonderful opportunity to get out there and share our work with the senior community and hopefully find a few new volunteers that might become dedicated GleanKY Volunteers. Over four hours at the UK Retiree Fair, I spoke to over 75 people, handed out many cards and had many folks leave me with their contact information to follow up with them.’

 

If you’re interested in spending your retirement gleaning with us, we’d love to have your help – you can read more about becoming a volunteer on our website, or you can always reach out to me at ben@gleanky.org to learn more.

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