This summer we have had the chance to volunteer a few times for Society of Saint Andrew’s (SOSA) and it’s such an incredible organization doing so much good. SOSA is a national organization but they have a regional office here in Kansas City. They work with local farmers who donate extra food they grow or sometimes farmers that grow food solely for donating to SOSA. Then they rely on volunteers to come and glean the food for donation. How great to be able to harvest and donate freshly grown food, that would otherwise go to waste, to food pantries as an alternative to the more common boxed, canned, and processed food. They LOVE to have families come and help with collecting food from the farms and it’s a great way to teach children about where their food comes from. So far we have helped prepare a field for planting watermelons that we will soon be gleaning from and we have gleaned lettuces, swiss chard, kale, and turnips. Groups that volunteer can decide if they would like to take the food to their own church food pantry or SOSA will take it to a pantry in need right after harvesting the food. The times that we have collected, we were able to take food directly to a local food kitchen and experience first hand who would be nourished by the food that day.
If you are interested in volunteering for SOSA, contact Karin Page through this website for SOSA west (the regional office) and ask to be added to their emails. If you are in another area of the country visit their main website here and find out how you can help. They are also willing to come and speak to groups before volunteering to engage interest and then they will send out emails for upcoming opportunities. Right now is prime time for harvesting so much in our area along with gleans at apple orchards and pumpkin and squash farms. Anyone local has probably heard of Carolyn’s Country Cousins. In November, they have their annual million pound squash glean where they take the harvested squash to food banks throughout the great plains and they really need volunteers for this.
Taking a break to taste some turnips.
This fantastic Farmer, Joe Jennings(farmer joe), in the background donates an extremely large portion of what he grows. He is always there working when we arrive and continues to work while we glean. He believes in giving what you have to receive all that is good and often asks ”Who have you helped today? If you haven’t helped anyone, you haven’t helped yourself.” He also offers a CSA subscription where you can come and pick your own vegetables and fruits throughout the season whenever you would like. If you have an interest you can contact Karin Page through SOSA for his information.
Sometimes, after gleaning, the kids have the opportunity to weigh the food and write down the amounts so that SOSA can track how much food has been harvested.
Below are just a few current requests for volunteers from their current newsletter. These are such fantastic ways to connect with your family and friends and build a nourishing community. Again, please contact Karin Page at SOSA if any of these sound interesting to you.
Apples: August – November: Sign up Now to glean! Starting this weekend we will be gleaning apples until the first freeze. Please help us save millions of apples this year by getting your school, scout troop, rotary club, church, synagogue, youth groups, business, food pantry, family, friends, neighborhood, to help us pick apples. The apple trees are at orchards and homes in Overland Park, Olathe, Bonner Springs, Weston, Kansas City, KS, and Independence and Lexington, MO. Please contact me and let me know what day (Monday through Saturday) that you’d like to glean!
The MILLION Pound Squash Glean: November 3rd – 9th.
Please SIGN UP in advance for this glean – we will be at Carolyn’s Country Cousin Pumpkin Patch Sunday through Saturday, Nov. 3rd – 9th. We will have semi-trucks from foodbanks all over the Great Plains states coming to get squash. I need at least 1,000 volunteers over this 7 day period to make this happen! See the attached flyer for more information.
2 acre Sweet Corn Glean in Bucyrus, KS (25 min south of KC). Possibly Saturday, August 10th or Monday August 12th (or maybe even the Friday before) we will be picking corn in Bucyrus, KS. This farm is just 1.25 miles from exit 223, so it’s very easy to get to and it’s not far from KC. Please clear your calendars for this glean. We can get this easily if we had 100 volunteers. You know the drill: we need pickers and drivers! Tell everyone you know!
Virtual Volunteers Needed. We need one person to help us keep track of Table Captains and attendees for our “After the Harvest” Breakfast in October. We will be starting to recruit attendees, as soon as we find a willing volunteer to help us keep track of names and e-mail addresses of attendees in an excel spreadsheet. If this is your cup of tea, please let me know ASAP.
Help us find volunteers. We need people to help find volunteers (calling scouts, schools, churches, pantries, etc.) to notify them of our upcoming apples and squash glean. Please let me know if you can help us!
Thanks SOOOOO very, very much for helping us save this nutritious food and get it to people in need! This year we have saved over 823,380 pounds, but I’d like to make it an extra 2,000,000 with apples and squashes!
So many great ways to help…please pass this on to any groups or families that you know that might like to be involved with this fantastic organization.