Yesterday, we received an email from Andrew Blake, volunteer coordinator at Totino-Grace High School, who came to Irish Mountain Orchard this past weekend and volunteered with his wife and some students. “We found out about the opportunity in an e-newsletter from Second Harvest, and our school is always looking for new service opportunities,” Andrew said. “This was a homecoming service project for us, so my students were up the night before until probably 1:00 am coming home from the school dance or somebody’s house after the football game. We came from Fridley, MN so I had them come to school at 6:45 in the morning. Needless to say, they didn’t get a lot of rest the night before!”
Every year in Minnesota alone, an estimated 224 million pounds of unused food goes to waste. It’s the goal of Second Harvest Heartland and participating Minnesota Orchards to glean as many nutritious apples as possible before the winter freeze, and deliver them to the hungry families, children and seniors who need them most. With the dedication of volunteers like Andrew and his students, we hope to collect even more fresh apples from Minnesota orchards than we did last year–more than 200,000 pounds.
“As we were making the collection boxes, we couldn’t believe we would need that many. Of course once we started collecting apples, the group working boxes could hardly keep them coming fast enough,” Andrew continued. “I think one of my favorite parts of the whole thing was knowing that each apple would get to a family. For awhile, with each apple I picked I tried to imagine a kid who would get that apple at home or at school in their lunch. I even tried to say a small blessing over each one until I realized it was slowing me down as so I stopped praying and started picking faster!”
All of us at Second Harvest Heartland extend a hearfelt “thanks” to the students at Totino-Grace and all other volunteers who have helped with the apple gleaning initiative this fall. Your efforts are incredibly important, and we couldn’t do this work without your help.
Know that families, children and seniors in our community are enjoying the “fruits of your labor”–literally–and giving thanks for your generosity and hard work.
If you would like to learn more about how you can get involved with the volunteer program at Second Harvest Heartland, please click here. Simply fill out the short form, and someone will get back to you!