You can support our work to end hunger and food waste by donating online at http://www.gleanky.org/donate. Checks can be sent directly to our P.O. Box.
We always need volunteers to glean excess produce from farms, orchards, and local grocers. Please check our website to view our upcoming volunteer orientation sessions, where you can receive a free GleanKY t-shirt and learn more about volunteering opportunities.
In-kind donations are also warmly accepted. Materials and supplies that help to support our programs and volunteers include gleaning supplies such as rakes, buckets, and gloves; containers and ingredients for preserving food; name tags; gas cards; items for silent auctions; and heirloom seeds.
GleanKY gathers and redistributes excess fresh fruits and vegetables to nourish Kentucky's hungry.
Our primary means of accomplishing this goal is to glean (which means to collect or harvest) fresh fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste from growers, grocers, and others. After gleaning the produce, we deliver it to agencies, hunger ministries, or neighborhoods in food deserts for distribution to people who are hungry. Our efforts reduce food waste and food-insecurity in Kentucky.
Of the more than four million residents of Kentucky, over 750,000 (one in six) were classified as food-insecure in 2014. In 2010, over 100,000 Central Kentucky residents lived in areas designated as food deserts by the USDA. These statistics indicate that a large number Kentuckians struggle to obtain enough food to maintain a healthy lifestyle - obstacles including low income, poor health, and a lack of proximity to food sources contribute to various levels of food insecurity for tens of thousands of members of our community.
Since 2010, GleanKY has gleaned over 1.1 million pounds of fresh fruits and
vegetables. In 2016, we continued solidifying our operations in adjacent
counties, including Franklin, Scott, and Madison counties. These new GleanKY
chapters allowed us to connect with new sources, new recipients, and new
volunteers. All this means more individuals, both inside and outside of Fayette
County, received gleaned fruits and vegetables for the first time. In total,
GleanKY works with over 80 agencies around Central Kentucky. In 2016, we collected 293,223 pounds of fresh produce, our most productive year yet.
Donors and volunteers propel
GleanKY forward. For every $50 donated to GleanKY, we are able to provide a week's supply of fresh produce to one of our over 80 partner recipient programs. Each year, over 400 unique volunteers dedicate their time to carrying out this critical work.
Gleaning has value beyond pounds, trips, meals and hours. One story I heard in 2016 that I continue to carry with me is from a volunteer, Cathy, who gleans for a group of immigrant women receiving literacy services. Here’s her story:
“Although my students come from cultures where outdoor markets are common and their original diets were largely plant-based, their post-migration diets in the U.S. have led to type 2 diabetes and a range of other medical issues. When they received the produce today they were all absolutely overjoyed. The idea that they'll be receiving fruit and vegetables on a regular basis is like a dream come true for them.
Since I started gleaning for my students I've come to understand much better how truly food insecure their lives are and what a difference access to fresh vegetables and fruit means. They so truly appreciate this chance to have better, healthier lives and fill our language lessons with stories on how they prepared each vegetable from the week before.”
I have a passion for helping other people. GleanKY has provided me with an opportunity to help people with a basic need -- food. I have been involved in many volunteer projects and have sat on many boards, but no group excites me like this one. Instantly, we have made a difference in the lives of three groups of people -- growers, recipients and volunteers. Rarely do we as individuals have an opportunity to have such a broad reach. I describe GleanKY as a "Win-Win-Win" situation: Growers win because they no longer see their produce going to waste; Volunteers win because they get to participate in the joy of both the giver and receiver; and Recipients win because their diet is supplemented with fresh food.
When I was first approached with the idea that became GleanKY, that is, there is food being grown and wasted that could be given to people who are hungry, it was an idea that made sense and that I thought could be executed. What I didn't expect was the tremendous personal reward.
Nevertheless, as with all great things, a tremendous amount of work is involved in keeping the organization on track and making it sustainable. We continue to be blessed with trying to manage rapid growth. For example, having started with a handful of very hard-working volunteers, we have hired a Gleaning Coordinator to handle the logistics of having more than 150 volunteers make over 900 gleaning trips to collect and deliver the thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables gleaned for our 50+ distribution partners.
As with all other non-profits, my job and the job of the board is to make sure we have the funds necessary to sustain and grow our mission of gathering and redistributing excess fruits and vegetables to nourish Kentucky’s hungry. While the challenges loom large, I am proud to lead a group that is always ready.
President of the Board of Directors
GleanKY intends to make a significant contribution to reducing hunger
and food waste in Kentucky. Our goal for the next several years is simple:
increase the number of people and programs we serve. In order to achieve this
goal, we need capital and capacity to recruit more volunteers and develop relationships
with more sources of food to glean. In combination, these two resources will
allow GleanKY to nourish individuals with produce that would otherwise go to
GleanKY aims to remove as many barriers from our work as possible - for recipients and volunteers alike. Our gleaning program is very efficient, with volunteers picking up produce directly from groceries or farmers and distributing it directly to feeding agencies in the area. GleanKY doesn't charge recipient sites for the food it distributes, nor do we request identification or proof of need from clients.
GleanKY is equipped with a large number of dedicated, reliable volunteers - in 2016 we had more than 400 unique volunteers allowing us to provide produce to over sixty feeding agencies in Central Kentucky. We're now equipped with four full-time staff members - an Executive Director, a Program Director, a Development Director, and a Fayette County Coordinator - who are working to ensure GleanKY is able to work in the most efficient way possible.
Currently, GleanKY measures success by
focusing on the number of pounds gleaned, gleaning trips, volunteers, volunteer
hours, sources of fresh produce, and recipient agencies. We also assess our
impact on the programs to which we donate fresh produce. Indicators like
individuals served, nutritional value of meals served, and meals containing
produce measure how our mission affects the work of our partners.
Gleaning began in June 2010 and
by the end of the year our volunteers had gleaned in excess of 37,000 pounds
and donated it to 14 agencies or churches in Central Kentucky that fed
low-income and homeless people. We have experienced exponential growth through the
present, bringing our gleaning total to over 1.1 million pounds of fresh produce
delivered to over 80 feeding programs including Nathanial Mission, Moveable
Feast, and Kentucky Refugee Ministries. We have developed relationships with over 40 sources
of produce, including several farms, orchards, farmers’ markets, backyard gardeners, and local
grocers. We make between 15 and 40 gleaning trips every week (depending on time of year) and have engaged hundreds of volunteers in our mission. According to our most recent program evaluation, 96% of our partner feeding programs
reported being able to offer an increased selection of food after receiving
produce from GleanKY. Additionally, 76% of our partners reported being able to
serve a greater number of people as a result of our partnership, and 35% reported being able to serve their clients fresh produce for the first time.
Stephanie got to know GleanKY through the Lexington Farmers’ Market. Amazed by the organization’s ability to connect the excess produce she saw so often at market with feeding programs around central Kentucky, she was eager to join the Board of Directors in 2013 and was hired as GleanKY’s Executive Director in January 2015. To Stephanie, food is the great unifier: “We all eat, and it is through the consumption of healthy, local food that we can form a resilient community.” Stephanie hopes her work with GleanKY will ensure that all have access to such a community. Stephanie is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and Indiana University with Master Degrees in Environmental Science and Public Administration. Stephanie has also worked on community outreach and education projects for the Lexington Farmers’ Market.
Our core program is gleaning: collecting excess fresh fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste for donation to agencies, churches, and other feeding programs that nourish people who are hungry. Volunteers collect the produce from growers (or harvest it from their fields) and deliver the food to those in need. Gleaning is a win for the farmers, who do not have to haul unused produce back to the compost bin or plow it under; a win for the volunteers who get the satisfaction of helping farmers and people that are hungry; a win for the agencies, churches, and other locations whose food costs are reduced and who can improve food quality and nutrition; and a win for the individual recipients who receive nutritionally superior food. We project taking over 1,000 gleaning trips in 2017 and expect growth in this number each year.
To add depth to our services, GleanKY is working to develop partnerships with other groups to host cooking classes or events where large quantities of fruits and vegetables may be preserved for use throughout the winter. We are excited about expanding this program as our gleaning program grows and becomes more predictable.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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