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Gleaning a future of food for all

Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 10:10 am

A group of young participants from Harvest of Hope visited several areas in the Northern Neck to find out how they can assist others, including Andrew Chapel Methodist Church (pictured above).

Andrew Chapel Methodist Church hosted 50 high school students who are clearly the antithesis of the so-called “me generation.”

There is comfort in knowing that they will inherit our world.  Andrew Chapel, along with other Northern Neck churches, provided meals for these young volunteers who came from Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and even as far away as Michigan.

Their mission, under the auspices of The Society of St. Andrew, was to participate in the ancient practice of “gleaning” whereby they work in recently harvested corn fields and collect the leftovers by hand.

In two days they gleaned about 9,000 lbs. of corn, enough to provide 27,000 servings of food for the needy of the Northern Neck.

This gleaning network of volunteers has, since its inception in 1988, involved a half-million volunteers putting hands and feet to their faith. The program works because it is volunteer driven and biblically based.

The book of Ruth features gleaning by the widow Ruth to provide for herself and Naomi, also a widow.  Paul said, “whoever does not work, neither shall he eat.”

Historically, in some cultures, the farmer was not allowed to “profit from the gleanings or to frighten away the gleaners with dogs or lions,” but of course, today local farms are cooperative and generous.

As might be imagined, the Methodist Women of Andrew Chapel, as well as dozens of other local outreach volunteers, derived great satisfaction from knowing that they could play a small  role in helping to put food on the table of area families at cost of only 2.4 cents per serving.