As a nonprofit, we are eager for individuals to join our volunteer team and bring fresh perspectives. Today we’re celebrating Lelia, who has donated her time and energy over the past five years with our Hope’s Harvest program — thank you Lelia!
“People don’t know what food looks like in the field. Hope’s Harvest is doing an amazing job in terms of distribution, getting fresh, beautiful veggies and fruits out to people who can’t afford to buy them. More importantly, though, they’re bringing back the philosophy that there’s enough — the problem isn’t scarcity, it’s distribution.”
— Lelia Stokes Weinstein
Let’s talk about how you started with us! How and when did you hear about Hope’s Harvest? What was your first glean? What do you remember about it, if anything?
My first glean was carrots in fall 2018, which I had heard about from a neighbor shortly after moving to Rhode Island. I remember how awesome it was to be out in nature doing something productive. It never hurts to see where food comes from! We had a vegetable garden as a kid, so it brought back a lot of memories from childhood. Overall, it was a lovely experience, and a lot of that was staff. They were incredibly inclusive and welcoming, and they really stressed volunteers pacing themselves. It also wasn’t terrible to go home with the discards of the discards — I ended up with two cups of shredded carrots for carrot cake.
What are your favorite things about volunteering with us?
I love the idea of food being made widely available! I grew up with an emphasis on no food waste, so it’s also great that sometimes gleaners can grab the discards of the discard — food that we glean but can’t be delivered by Hope’s Harvest for any reason.
What farms and crops are your favorites?
I would say Four Town Farm is my favorite to glean at, as I’ve been there the most. But each farm is such a unique experience! Some favorite crops I can think of are strawberries — I see them in such amazing shapes and never knew they could come like this! — purple carrots, and peppermint striped chard.
Do you have any words for future gleaners?
I highly recommend that people give it a shot! You don’t know what you’re going to get out of the experience until you’ve tried it. The benefits aren’t only about food going to people in need; the benefits to the gleaner are beyond what you could even imagine.