I’m amazed that a year is gone already! It’s certainly been a learning curve but I’ve loved (almost) every minute of it. When I first started working for Glean Kentucky here in Bowling Green, the territory was still fairly young. We had weekly gleaning at the Community Farmers Market, incredible community and farmer relationships, and tons of opportunity for growth. I jumped in with both feet and learned everything I could about this new work arena to me. At the end of my first several months, it was time to send tax letters to our generous donors. This exercise showed me directly how important these produce donors are and how much of their hard work they were willing to give. It was humbling and eye opening. By the end of 2021, we had rescued just under 3,000 pounds of produce for the year! Most of this was from local farmers.
In January, our SOKY partnership with Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland (FAKH) was ready to launch. We drew up a schedule and made some introductions. Glean Kentucky got a van ready for me to use here and we were off! In the first three days of retail grocery gleaning we rescued over 3,300 pounds…three days! It was incredible and I saw the potential possible in Warren County. No one could have seen the next hurdle coming. After just three days of retail grocery gleaning, I was in a serious car accident that injured my hand. This massive growth came to an immediate halt. Thanks to volunteers (and my husband), we were able to slowing begin to add stores back into the pick-up schedule. It was April before I could fully return to the pick-up schedule.
Never Give Up!
In spite of this delay, to date we have rescued over 29,000 pounds of produce for 2022. This equates to over 19,000 meals for the residents in Warren County dealing with food insecurity. There are no words that do justice to the way it feels to do this work. I get dirty (and lately awfully sweaty!) and I’m tired at the end of the day. But, when I drift off to sleep each night, I know I’ve a made a difference with my work. What we do matters to so many people. Whether you are a donor, a volunteer, or an agency feeding families, we make a difference.
Thank you for making my first year so impactful. I couldn’t have done it without you!