We've made it to one MILLION pounds!
Over nine years ago, 15 volunteers set out on the first day of July 2006 to pick some cherries for the food bank. Led by Alissa Watkins, they picked just over 900 pounds of cherries from the orchard of Gary Middleton. Little did any of them know that they would glean that amount over thousand times over in the next 9 years.
Early this gleaning season, we noticed that we were closing in on the momentous landmark of one million pounds of food gleaned since our inception, and decided that was an occasion to celebrate. You've seen us countdown on Facebook, Twitter and our website, and we've finally reached that goal!
Not surprisingly, apples have been responsible for about 1/3 of the weight, potatoes another 1/4 of the weight, and corn makes up nearly 10% of that total. We've gleaned over 40 different types of produce, from Apricots to Zucchinis and everything in between--and all of that has gone to help feed hungry people.
Keep a close eye on your TVs and our local newspaper, as we've shared the story with both of them and all of your hard work will be celebrated by our community in the coming days. We encourage all of you who helped pick at least one of those pounds to proudly let your non-gleaning friends know that you played a part in that million--that we couldn't have made it to this milestone without you. And let them know that they can sign up to--there's a link below.
If this is your first time on our webpage--welcome! We'd love to invite you to be part of the next million pounds we pick for our community! Sign up below, or check out our Facebook page or our Twitter Account. You can also text the word "gleaning" to the number 292929 and get text notification of upcoming events.
We want to close by thanking everyone who made this possible--we never would've made it here without Alissa's beautiful dream and her leadership to make it a reality. We've been led by an amazing board of directors (both past and present) who have worked tirelessly as champions for the hungry in our community--Thanks Gerry, Henry, Sue, Jim, Bob, Karen and Alissa--and especially to Gary Middleton and Alan Mehlenbacher who not only serve on the board, but also are part of the most amazingly generous farming community in the world.
Thanks to Gary, Alan and all of our great Mid-Columbia farmers who put in the hard work to grow everything we eat and glean. Special thanks to our volunteers--you made this happen! We don't have space to acknowledge the hundreds of you who were a part of this, but we do want to take the time to thank our coordinator team--Larry, Rob, Sue, Jim, Monte, Dianne and Ron--you are Fields of Grace. We couldn't do any of this without your hard work, dedication and support of our mission. Thanks to every single one of the hundreds of volunteers who have given up your valuable time and energy to "Glean God's Harvest for the Mid-Columbia." Well done, good and faithful servants.
Lastly, thanks God. You are the reason why we do this.
I was hungry and you fed me...Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:40 (The Message)
Fields of Grace was established in April 2006 as a ministry at West Side Church in Richland, WA. The program began when 2nd Harvest Tri-Cities voiced a need for fresh produce for area food banks and area farmers wanted to donate a portion of their crops, but lacked the resources to pick the additional produce.
We provide the hands of service that pick the fruits and vegetables for residents in need. Since its inception, the ministry has trained over 1,000 volunteers who have logged over 8,000 hours of service to harvest nearly 900,000 pounds of produce. This produce has included apples, sweet corn, carrots, sweet cherries, apricots, plums, grapes, prunes, tomatoes, potatoes, among other fruits and vegetables. In total, Fields of Grace has provided over 2.5 million individual servings of healthy fruits and vegetables.
Fields of Grace office is located at:
Cathedral of Joy
1153 Gage Blvd.
Richland, WA 99352
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1766, Richland, WA 99352