Tomato gleaners needed

Published 07/29 2014 04:31PM

Updated 07/30 2014 12:09PM

"In our country there is 96 billion pounds of food wasted each year. If you were to fill a football stadium from the bottom to the top every single day it would be full of the food going to waste,” said Mary Lynn Botts.

The society of St. Andrew is trying to diminish that number and feed the people in need. The non-profit organization recovers produce from farmers who no longer have a need for it.

"In our grocery stores there are standards and our produce is perfect in our grocery stores, but it doesn't all grow that way so we are trying to capture the food that is not as pretty or is not the right size, but yet still eatable,” said Botts, Alabama Program Coordinator for the Society of St. Andrew.

This process is called gleaning; a biblical term basically meaning harvesting what is left over before the field is plowed up.

"It's the end of the tomato season, but yet there are still tomatoes left. So, we come through and harvest what is left over and get it to agencies feeding the hungry,” said Botts.

The tomatoes will go to different food banks in the Wiregrass area, but Mary Lynn said she can’t pick the tomatoes by herself. So, she’s asking for help from the community.

"I need hands. I have picked about 10 boxes in an hour and a half you multiply that by 10 more sets of hands that's a lot of food that will get recovered and get taken to those that don't often get healthy produce - those people that can't afford to buy it in the grocery store,” said Botts.

Last year the society of St. Andrew recovered 7,000 pounds of produce from a local farm and they're hoping to recover much more this year.

Volunteers are asked to meet in the parking lot of Dothan First United Methodist Church at 7 a.m. on July 30th and 31st.

If you have any questions you can call Mary Lynn Botts at 205-245-3214.

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