Barnwell farmer provides field for gleaning to hungry
Debbie Riley coordinated the gleaning for the Gleaning Network, and organization that connects with local farmers to "glean" or harvest their produce fields after regular hargest to get the food for distribution to the hungry.
Riley jumped into action and called local Lions Club members to volunteer for the gleaning of Emmett Black's field on S.C. 70, just outside of Barnwell.
Black donated a field full of collard greens.
Riley and the Lions Club have been communicating about how to combat the hunger preoblem in the county.
Riley had given a presentation to the Lions Club earlier about the Gleaning Network, which is operated under the Society of St. Andrew, a Christian-based hunger ministry out of Big Island, Va.
Jim Satkowski, Anil Bhargava and Tom gathered at the field with Riley and within about 30 to 40 minutes and harvested the collards.
Armed with a pickup truck mounded over with collards, Riley drove to Wal-Mart and parked out front.
The Lions members and Riley gave the collards to those passing by.
The first calls for "free collards" received uncertain looks from the passers-by.
Most with questioning looks, slowly began to walk to the truck.
Riley explained to the curious that Black had donated the collards for everyone to have.
Some took only one head of collards, some took several, some said they were taking them home to "grandma."
Riley encouraged those passing by to take some to their neighbors, too.
In about the same time it took to harvest the collards, the truck was empty, Riley said.
"It was wonderful," she said of seeing everyone benefit.
Riley estimates the truck of collards was about 600 pounds of produce.
The process of gleaning works pretty fast from start to finish.
Black contacted Riley on Friday and she in turn contacted members of the Lions Club the same day.
Just about 24 hours later the harvested collards were on someone's dinner table.
It worked just the way it is supposed to work, she said.
This gleaning is a follow-up for the Lions Club. After realizing the hunger need in the area and with the guidance and encouragement of Society of St. Andrew, members got a hands-on view of the process, Riley said.
"They (the Lions Club) were so excited," she said. "It was such a wonderful day."