Remember waaay back in the day (over 2 years ago!) when I toured the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank as part of a BlogMob event? Well in that tour, I learned that there are a whole lot of neat ways you can help the Food Bank’s efforts to get food to people in need, that go well beyond the usual contribution of canned goods. Of course, donating food and cash as well as helping with food distribution events are always great ways to help. But if you’re itching to try something different and fun and outdoors, Glean events are where it’s at!
Here’s how a glean works- the Food Bank partners with local farms. When the farms are done with their harvest, there are usually still a whole lot of crops left behind. So the Food Bank gathers volunteers to harvest those crops, and the crops go to people who need them! Simple, smart, resourceful!
I’ve been wanting to do a glean for quite some time. The difficulty for me has been that they are usually scheduled for weekday mornings, when I’m at work. Sometimes you just gotta make the time, and so I set aside a morning this autumn when I decided that I was gonna DO THIS.
The glean I went to was at Wexford Farms, just a little bit north of the city. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but the crop we were gleaning was collards, which meant that filled boxes were light! (The next scheduled glean was for acorn squash– heavy!)
I was really surprised by how much was left behind after the farm was done with its own harvest. Lots and lots and lots. The Food Bank brought a whole bunch of large boxes and we picked the collards and boxed them up until all the boxes were full.
The whole event took about 2 hours. I really liked how all the volunteers were so focused. My thoughts on volunteering– you are there to do a task, and if you are going to take break after break, you might as well not be there at all. Sometimes I get frustrated with volunteer projects when people aren’t all working hard. There was no such problem at this event. We did take a little break in the middle, but other than that, everyone was working hard and working fast.
I participated in the glean event with a couple of friends. On the way back into town afterward, they suggested we stop at Schorr Family Bakery for donuts. Donuts?! YES PLS.
I got myself a maple frosted sweet roll, which was a whopping 75 cents! I can’t remember the last time I bought something that cost less than a dollar! The roll was nice and sweet, balanced with the right amount of breadiness. The bakery was a fun find in the West View neighborhood, which I admittedly know like nothing about.