Let Us Not Become Weary

Others, Food

Contributed by: Fraser Valley Gleaners

In Canada we have so much food. We have so much food that we throw it away!  We have these gigantic grocery stores, shelves packed with food of all varieties, tastes and pleasures.  We may go two or more times per week to the grocery store to buy our preferred food to feed our families. I always felt it was my job as a mom to pick out the best food for my little people. I was a happy parent, picking out fresh produce for my growing family. I loved the vibrant colours, the fresh smells, the variety! I would bring it all home and organize the food in my kitchen and make it all available for my family to appreciate. 

But I also feel so overwhelmed!  

What about the parent in a small village in Burundi or Guatemala that has no way or means to feed their family? There may be little or no food because of political unrest, drought, floods, earthquakes, or no finances to buy food. What about the children, the elderly, the nursing mother? It is easy to be overwhelmed – to feel guilty, overcome, sad and angry. Why do we have so much here in our wealthy country and the families on the other side of the world have so little? I ask myself, what can I do? How can I help? I am too small and the problems of food shortage around the world are too big!  

I recently watched a program on television stating that Canadian grocery stores are the most plentiful and abundant in the world. We have grown accustomed to our produce looking picture perfect. It also stated that there is a vast amount of produce that doesn’t make it to the grocery store because the produce has a blemish or is not the perfect size, shape or colour! If it is not perfect, we don’t purchase it. Statistically we waste 31 million pounds of food every year. I was shocked about the numbers!  

Fraser Valley Gleaners partner with grocery store warehouses, farmers, greenhouse growers and food distributors to collect produce that didn’t make it to the grocery store shelves because of imperfections and blemishes. Farmers call them seconds. The Gleaners prevent food going to the landfill that is still edible, just not marketable – good food that doesn’t make the #1 grade we are all accustomed to. With the help of 55+ volunteers – students to seniors – produce is cleaned, diced, dehydrated and then mixed together to make a nutritious soup mix for Humanitarian Aid in developing countries around the world.

I volunteer at the Gleaners in Abbotsford. Here, instead of being overwhelmed I can do something! Here is a purposeful avenue that I can work at – a not-for-profit, faith-based organization that makes Dried Soup Mix and Apple Snacks and then partners with organizations that are working in countries that need this donated food. I get excited about how I can help – how my few hours of cutting onions, peppers, and carrots can make a difference in someone’s life.    

I can’t end poverty internationally but I can pray and support organizations that are doing amazing work by feeding people around the world and… I can cut up onions! “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up!” Galatians 6:9

Written by Elaine Goosen. Photo credit: Daria and Markus Spiske