Gleaners now have two processing plants in the 0kanagan: one in Oliver and one in the Lavington area. The Oliver operation started in 1994 and the one near Vernon in 2009.
Their purpose is to gather (glean) crops that are to small, to large, defective or otherwise not suitable for sale and would otherwise go to waste. The product is dried and made into a soup mix that is shipped by various Christian relief organizations to many countries in the world for hungry people. Last year, more than 1 million pounds of produce destined for the land fill was processed into over 6 million servings of dried soup mix.
Gleaners also collects used medical equipment that is also shipped by relief organizations to various parts of the world. Also, every year thousands of packages of vegetable seeds are donated to the Gleaners by P.N.W. Seeds of Vernon. These are sent to many countries as well.
To help with the costs of running the processing plant, Gleaners opened a used furniture store, located at 4405-29th Street, in 2010.
“Any donation of furniture you have is appreciated,” said Howie Anhorn with the Gleaners. “They could be picked up if you can’t deliver them.
Gleaners is made up of volunteers who gather, process and package the produce donated by many local farmers. They can use volunteer workers at the plant any weekday Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Interested parties can contact Harold Sellers, 250-558-5872 for more information or directions.
“Lately the store purchased the building they were renting and expanded the operation greatly,” said Anhorn. “If you could volunteer a few hours a week at the store please call. This store is the major means of support for the plant operation along with donations from Churches, individuals, The Kalamalka Rotary Club and fundraising events.”
Gleaners also run an annual campaign to collect new socks, mittens, toques, and under garments for kids of all ages. These are shipped with the food or separately to countries in Eastern Europe. Many people enjoy knitting these items or you can purchase them new. Stuffed toys, new, are also accepted. Gleaners asked that no used clothing is donated during this drive.
There are collection barrels in most churches, The Schubert Center, The Gleaners furniture store and the plant.
“Gleaners would like to thank Lou Abram and her faithful group of knitters and sewers from Grace Bible Church who work all year long to supply Gleaners,” Anhorn said. “So far this year they have produced 1,500 pieces and have a goal of 2,000 pieces. Also, this group would appreciate any surplus wool and fleece you might have. Please take to The Gleaners Furniture Store.”
Last year, 5,500 pieces were collected in the Vernon area. Donations are greatly appreciated. The last day of collection is Nov. 25.
For more information, call the Gleaners at 250-549-1123.