Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Stories from the Field: Linn Benton Food Share & Gleaners

Here's the latest update from the AmeriCorps NCCC team currently serving at SAGE. Through this series of blog posts (each written by a different member of the team) we hope to provide you with an inside look at AmeriCorps NCCC and the service experiences the team is encountering at SAGE, the Corvallis Environmental Center, and with our 11 partner organizations in Benton County. Our third service story comes from Danielle Jettoo, originally from New York, who is one of seven members on the team and also serves as a Corps Ambassador on the team:
 

"I want to say that this was the best week ever, but then I would be lying. This is because every week is the best week ever. This week, however, was especially amazing because we worked with the Gleaners at the Linn Benton Food Share! Pre-Corvallis, I had no idea what a Food Share was, let alone Gleaners. Come to find out, Gleaners are individuals that pick up excess food from farmers and grocery stores and distribute it to needy individuals in the community. On two Wednesdays each month, the Gleaners are able to divide the food that was collected amongst themselves at the Linn Benton Food Share warehouse. This past Wednesday, frozen vegetables was the food item up for distribution. Between the volunteers and our AmeriCorps team, 9,000 pounds of vegetables were bagged and shipped out!

I find it hard to explain why this experience was especially meaningful to me. Maybe it was the conversation that I had with the man who continues to volunteer to glean after 20 years and who told me about how gleaning dates back 4,000 years. Maybe it was the two adopted children I spoke to who told me that they have been gleaning their whole lives to have food to eat. Maybe it was the sense of family that seemed to overwhelm the Food Share warehouse. Maybe it was the massive bin of broccoli that volunteers had to literally stand in in order to scoop out the veggies. Maybe it was the fact that there were so many older people working together so efficiently for an important cause: to feed themselves and others. Maybe it was the woman who brought me bags before I had a chance to scream for more. Whatever it was, it touched me."

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