Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Amherst, Virginia.
Sunday, October 21, 2018
We serve the Lord with love and praise.

A message from our Pastor

 

 
Celebrating the Society of St. Andrew
 
America’s Premier Food Rescue and Distribution Ministry
 

            Fall has officially arrived and harvest time is here! For almost 40 years, the Society of St. Andrew, along with their partner organizations, has worked tirelessly to glean and distribute unmarketable produce from fields to feed hungry people. SoSA joins together the hearts and hands of faith groups, community groups, schools, churches and individuals to feed the hungry out of the abundance of rescued food that they receive. From their headquarters in Big Island, VA, SoSA manages an incredible food collection and distribution operation,

            Most people do not realize how much food they throw away every day, from uneaten leftovers to spoiled produce. It is estimated that Americans waste approximately 133 billion pounds of food annually. About 95% of the food we throw away ends up in landfills or combustion facilities.

            One major area of food waste in America is from farmers’ fields, where crops that do not meet top-grade quality are left to rot or to be plowed under. Gleaning is the traditional Biblical practice of gathering crops that would otherwise go to waste. The Biblical mandate comes from the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 24:19: “When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be left for the alien, the orphan, and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all your undertakings.” SoSA’s Gleaning Network coordinates volunteers, growers, and distribution agencies to salvage gleaned food for the needy. SoSA is able to salvage and serve over 30 million pounds of food each year for hungry people, food that would otherwise be wasted.

            Tens of thousands of volunteers from churches, synagogues, Scout troops, senior citizen groups and other organizations participate each year in a variety of Society of St. Andrew gleaning activities, allowing SoSA to donate millions of servings of nutritious food to community food pantries and kitchens at no cost. Farmers donate the food, volunteers work, donors provide funds for transportation, and feeding agencies distribute the food. By relying on these partnerships and coordinating their efforts, SoSA is able to keep their costs to just pennies per serving of gleaned food.

            Through the Produce and Potato Project, SoSA is able to salvage tractor-trailer loads of potatoes and other produce that are rejected by commercial markets or factories due to slight imperfections in size, shape, sugar content, or surface blemishes. Usually, these rejected loads end up in local landfills. SoSA redirects these 40,000 to 45,000-pound loads of fresh, healthy produce to food banks, soup kitchens, food pantries, low income housing areas, local churches, and other hunger agencies for distribution to the poor.

You are invited to share in the ministry of SoSA in the following ways:

1.      Be grateful for every meal you receive, giving thanks to God for all that God provides for you and your family.

2.      Be mindful of food waste at home. Use up what you have, eat left-overs, and practice meal planning to reduce overbuying and spoilage.

3.      Use the SoSA coin banks that are available at church, particularly during Advent and Lent, to support the ministry of SoSA.

4.      Sign up to receive information about Gleaning Events that SoSA sponsors. Visit the SoSA website at www.endhunger.org. SoSA will be at Gross’s Orchard (6817 Wheats Valley Rd, Bedford, VA 24523) on Thursday, October 4 from 9 a.m. to Noon. If you would like to participate in this Gleaning Event, please meet at the church at 7:30 a.m. and let the church office know that you are coming. 

        

            So during this year’s harvest season, if you happen to visit a “pick-your-own” orchard or pumpkin patch, be reminded to thank God for the ministry of the Society of St. Andrew and their faithful stewardship of God’s natural abundance. Pray that God would continue to bless the wonderful work of SoSA, a ministry that feeds and blesses so many who are hungry. 

Blessings,

Pastor Nancy