Gleaning benefits entire community
In a time when jobs are low and homelessness and hunger are on the rise, we as a society need to be thinking creatively about how we can put people to work and put food on tables.
That is why it is encouraging to see a gleaning network flourishing in Haywood County. The gleaning network has been in existence since 2005, but it is growing as the need continues to grow.
The network consists of volunteers who gather crops from farmers that would otherwise go to waste. It is a win-win for everyone involved — farmers don’t have to throw out nutritious fruits and vegetables, homeless or jobless residents can continue to be productive in the community and more hungry families get fed.
Since an article about the gleaning network ran in Monday’s paper, the network has already received several calls from people wanting to join as an ally. It is good to see people wanting to make a difference in our community by lending a hand in the garden or by offering excess produce to feed the hungry.
According to Feeding America, one in six people in America go hungry. North Carolina has a significantly higher household food insecurity rate that the national average. While the national average is 14.7 percent, our state average is 17.1 percent.
Feeding people with fresh, locally grown crops is a much healthier option than some other “cheap food” options available to struggling families. Even in a recession, there is no reason for people in America to go hungry. We throw food out every day without a thought while children starve to death.
We commend all the volunteers, farmers and local agencies that help to make this program possible and for setting an inspiring example of community and helping others.