“And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 23:22
According to endhunger.org, each year, well over 100 billion pounds of food are thrown away in this country. Some estimates from 2009 indicate that up to 20 percent of America’s entire food supply goes to waste. At the same time, there are 49 million people, including more than 16 million children, who are at risk of going hungry. Gleaning—the practice of collecting and donating excess foods—helps simultaneously address these pressing issues. Importantly, it also gives low-income individuals access to fresh and locally grown foods. In fact, more than 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in low-income neighborhoods where affordable, quality and nutritious foods are inaccessible.
In an effort to combat hunger issues in the rural community of McDowell, Kentucky, the IMPACT (Influencing My Peers As a Christian Teen) Youth Group from McDowell First Baptist Church decided to create a “Gleaning Garden.” Toward the end of May, forty youth and adults came together, tilled the land and planted the seeds that would later bring forth corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, green beans and other fruits and vegetables. The care and upkeep of the garden was performed by the youth in shifts throughout the impending months. The entire harvest was delivered to GAP as it became ripened and able to be picked. Then, the fruits and vegetables were distributed by the missionaries at GAP accordingly.
It was a very rewarding experience to all that were involved. The work was hard, but the benefits far outweighed the labor. It was an event that taught the youth group real life lessons about gardening, use of the land, how hard work pays off, reaping what you sow and many other intangible wisdoms. IMPACT is excited to create an even bigger garden with a larger variety of fruits and vegetables next year! (Please click on the image above to view more photos.)