The Ontario Gleaners is a completely volunteer driven organization in Cambridge, Ontario that makes 30,000 servings of soup mix each day that is internationally distributed to the hungry. Speroway is delighted to be a long-standing partner with them! Recently Starr, a Speroway staff member, was able to visit them, and the following is what she saw:“I walked into the Gleaners building and I immediately sensed the energy of the volunteers – and the smell of potatoes! It was potato day and the 60 or so volunteers had donned aprons and gloves and were busy scrubbing, rinsing, peeling and trimming bags of donated potatoes. Shelly, the manager, took us on a tour and I saw the long wall full of name tags. Each volunteer here is special and very much a part of the “Gleaner” community. Each day at the Gleaners varies based on the produce donations that come in. Asparagus, broccoli, carrots, celery, kale, onions, parsnips and more go into their delicious soup mixes. Some days they even process apples and pears for a sweet fruit snack that is a special treat for families in need. Whether the donated produce is excess or just not the perfect size or colour to sell in grocery stores, all of the produce donations the Gleaners receive are high quality. Once the vegetables are peeled and cleaned by the volunteers, they are poured into a machine that chops them quickly and evenly, which is the key for the next step – dehydration. The big bins of the chopped potatoes are spread out onto a conveyor belt that lifts them up and into the dehydration oven. It’s important that the potato slices are all the same size so that they are all evenly dried. The length of this process depends on what kind of vegetable it is and even what the weather is like! On rainy days it takes a bit longer, but usually it takes only a few minutes. Once dehydrated, the vegetables are stored in large containers and then later combined with other ingredients to create the soup mix. It was an amazing experience for me to see this facility and to meet such passionate volunteers. It was clear that each person chopping vegetables understands how vital their service is – helping to feed thousands of hungry people around the world!”
Each bag is about 3 pounds, enough for 100 servings of soup. Soup that is paid for with the time and devotion of the volunteers and the financial and produce donations from supporters. This inexpensive and versatile soup mix is then donated to partner missions and humanitarian aid organizations that deliver it internationally – and Speroway is proud to be one of them! We are able to cost-effectively ship the Gleaners soup around the world. Most recently we distributed the soup to needy families in El Salvador on one of Speroway’s Medical/Dental trips. We are also proud to share this nutritious soup with orphanages and other feeding centres that Speroway partners with.
Thank you Gleaners for all that you are doing to provide nutritious soup for needy families around the world. Because of you – they have something to eat!