This was Our Club's 5th Anniversary, and the 112th Year of Rotary International
  • Laura Davis, speaker
  • Sarlah Bernard
  • Stop Hunger Now: our food packaging event is upcoming on March 18 at 10 am - 1 pm at NRHS. Be sure to come early.
  • The Reality Fair at NRHS will be held April 28, with setup the afternoon before.
  • April 27 is the wine tasting event by the Acton-Boxborough club. Carol has tickets for sale. Half the revenue from the tickets we sell is remitted back to our club.
  • The Paul Harris Lunch on April 28 begins the Multi-District Conference in Providence.
Our speaker was Laura Davis, representing Boston Area Gleaners, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing surplus farm crops for people in need. They distribute high quality produce to food pantries and meal programs by working closely with local farmers, providing volunteer labor to harvest what would otherwise be plowed under.
Up to 20% of what farms grow is never harvested. After all the effort to grow the crops, about a fifth will sit and never make it to market. At the same time, about 1 in 10 people in Massachusetts struggle to get enough to eat, and much of what is available through food banks, etc., is high-fat, high-salt—less than healthy. Where the Gleaners come in is to solve both problems.
Gleaners is a volunteer-driven organization. They have five staff, but volunteers go to local farm guilds to harvest surplus crops, which are distributed to food banks and such to serve people in need. Last year they worked with over 50 farms in eastern Massachusetts. Volunteers from all kinds of backgrounds, from 13 to 80+ harvest the crops and bring them back to the Waltham office, which then distributes them to partner agencies. People think that the food has fallen on the ground, is spoiled, unfit to eat. Actually, it’s fresh, just can’t be harvested. Farm workers, having passed through once, don’t have the opportunity to pass through again before they move on.
Last year, they took in over 400,000 pounds of food, which were distributed to 1.6 million people. They’re continuing to grow, because there are still too many fields, and a lot of hunger. In 2019 their goal is to glean a million pounds. To double the number of farms, they need a lot more volunteers. To triple the transportation, they need more vehicles and drivers. Donations, of course, are also welcome from individuals and corporations.  And they want to spread the word to local farms.
This night was a double celebration: our club was chartered five years ago, and Rotary International was founded 112 years ago.
After near universal expressions of happiness at our fifth anniversary, and gladness to belong to such a vibrant club, we watched a slide presentation. The slides were photographs of five years of projects our members were involved in—each slide a different project—and it lasted nearly 15 minutes, while the musical background played “We are the champions of the world.”
Then followed party games (including a rousing game of “Simon says,” songs, and the sharing of a five-year birthday cake.
Here’s to five years more!