Keeping a gleaning program going for the long term can be a challenge; volunteers come and go, tree donors may move away and sell their properties to new owners who aren’t familiar with the program, and the fruit harvest varies from year to year..
Whidbey Island has a large community of homeowners engaged in growing their own produce, as well as numerous fruit trees located around the South end. The food bank sees a steady flow of produce donations from the community during the growing season, and the fruit tree gleaning program was created to help prevent excess fruit from going to waste..
Good Cheer relies on over 3,000 hours of volunteer service each month, performed by around 200 volunteers. Whidbey Island is a tight-knit community; news travels mostly through word of mouth, and relationships are key to engaging and retaining volunteers..
Beyond introducing new vegetables and working to convince food bank clients to take home unfamiliar produce, education can also include food preservation – what to do with excess fruit and veggies, or how to make the abundance of one season last into leaner times. Canning,…