North Okanagan Gleaners responds in Guatemala relief effort

Over 40 volunteers spent Saturday at Gleaners to aid in humanitarian relief efforts for Guatemala.

The Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupted on Sunday, June 3, killing more than 60 people and displacing thousands from their homes.

Upon hearing this, North Okanagan Gleaners sprung into action. Farmers donated vegetables for volunteers to make into soup and dried fruit. Other community members knit clothes for survivors and collected supplies including medical equipment from local hospitals.

Through an event called “Pay it Forward Saturday” more than 40 volunteers spent the day at the plant.

“We had a request for a million meals to be shipped out within three weeks,” said Brad Egerton of North Okanagan Gleaners. “We’ve reached that — we’ve bagged a million meals now as well as average, everyday supplies like toothpaste, toothbrushes, medical supplies diapers and we’re going to have that sea can filled up with all this wonderful stuff.”

This is not an uncommon task for Gleaners, who work year round to provide food and supplies to those in need — both in the Okanagan community and around the world.

Egerton said are always looking for more volunteers and the Guatemala relief project hasn’t concluded yet. A sea can — the container that carries the food abroad — arrives at the plant to load up all the supplies on Tuesday.

“People have really come through with volunteering time and donating products,” he added. “On Tuesday, we have a sea can coming and we’ll be loading up on that day anyone who wants to come out and help is more than welcome.”

The North Okanagan Gleaners plant is located at 973 Whitevale Rd, Lavington.

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