Glean-O-Mania saves food waste, program to feed hungry

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – There is a ton of food on farms that will never make it to stores or markets. The Gleaning Project of Franklin County harvests excess food and gives that produce to people who cannot afford it.

“Oh, yum on the peaches,” Cynthia Pogue said as she picked out her produce at The Gleaning Project stand in Chambersburg.

Pogue plans her meals based on what’s available each week.

“Probably be an apple pie today because that’s what we have,” she said.

It’s the only way Pogue would get farm-fresh fruit.

“I only get a portion of food stamps,” she said, “and I’m on a fixed income.”

Everything at The Gleaning Project farm stand is free because it would otherwise get tossed. Fifteen percent of farm food never gets sold. In Franklin County, that adds up to hundreds of thousands of pounds of food that volunteers now harvest and give away; otherwise known as “gleaning.”

“The Gleaning Project expanded to Franklin County three years ago because of a grant from Summit Health,” said Jay Eury, the coordinator in Franklin County.

Last year alone, the program provided meals to about 26,000 people.

“That grant was what allowed us to expand so quickly over the last three years, and that grant ends next year,” Eury said.

So, Sept. 9-15 is Glean-O-Mania.

“To pledge to donate a penny for every pound of produce we can glean for one week,” Eury said. “So far this week, we’ve gleaned over 8,000 pounds of fruit, so a one-penny pledge would equal about an $80 donation.”

It’s a first of many creative efforts to keep The Gleaning Project open in Franklin County.

“Thank you,” Pogue said as she picked up a butternut squash. “I’ll probably end up putting brown sugar on it, and butter.”

If you’d like to donate to Glean-O-Mania, go to www.thegleaningproject.org.

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