North Okanagan Valley Gleaners Society volunteers stand in front of a sea can that will be loaded with close to one million meals of soup mix and medical equipment, earmarked for the Dominican Republic. (Contributed)

North Okanagan Valley Gleaners Society volunteers stand in front of a sea can that will be loaded with close to one million meals of soup mix and medical equipment, earmarked for the Dominican Republic. (Contributed)

North Okanagan Gleaners cap busy year with a million meals

Shipment of soup mix along with medical equipment heading to the Dominican Republic

There’s a million things keeping the North Okanagan Valley Gleaners Society busy, and a million ways the Gleaners help out around the globe.

Case in point: the society – founded in 2007 by a group acutely aware of world hunger and that the Okanagan is rife with food supplies – was supposed to send a ship to Haiti earlier this year. But due to geopolitical concerns the shipment was tagged to go to the Dominican Republic and be distributed by the Gleaners’ partners at Global Emergency Missions Society Canada.

Despite high-rising costs of shipping and the difficulty in securing a sea can (shipping container), one was delivered to the Gleaners’ plant in Lavington where volunteers had the chance to load it with about a million meals of soup mix, and topped off with much-needed medical equipment.

“We have worked hard to ship out more food than we ever have before, as well as the opportunity to ship several 40-foot sea cans of medical equipment,” said Gleaners spokesperson Brad Egerton. “This is being done with less volunteers than the past due to COVID restrictions but we have received more donated food than we ever before.”

So far this year the Gleaners have received more than 1.2 million pounds of food of which after being dried will feed about eight million meals for those in need around the world.

The society is specifically in need of volunteers in the kitchen area at the plant as well as in the medical area.

“However we can use many more volunteers in all areas at the plant and at the furniture store (4405-29th Street),” said Egerton.

You can visit novgleaners.org to download volunteer application forms.

READ MORE: Gleaners give surplus produce, Vernon gratefully fed

READ MORE: A third birthday for North Okanagan Gleaners

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North Okanagan Valley Gleaners Society medical coordinator Wendy Andres checks over a box of medical equipment that will be shipped along with nearly one million meals of soup mix to the Dominican Republic. (Contributed)

North Okanagan Valley Gleaners Society medical coordinator Wendy Andres checks over a box of medical equipment that will be shipped along with nearly one million meals of soup mix to the Dominican Republic. (Contributed)