From Lisa Ousley, After the Harvest Executive Director: Greetings from the field! As we move into the heart of gleaning season and then into Hunger Action Month in September, I am reminded of how our partnerships have helped us provide millions of pounds of nourishing food for our neighbors in need.

After the Harvest partners with many organizations to carry out our work—from schools to rotary clubs, corporations to nonprofits, Scouts to Sunday School classes—to support our work and send volunteers to glean. But we have a special place in our partnership ranks for our faith-based partners.

The reason for this special partnership: it’s our shared mission. We share the belief that all people have a right to healthy, nourishing food, regardless of their financial status. This shared mission provides opportunity. For faith congregations, this is an opportunity for your members to participate in gleaning, an ancient practice rooted in scripture, the results of which mean free food for the pantries and agencies you support.

For After the Harvest, our shared mission results in volunteers who help us glean fields and orchards, and financial support that allows us to cover packaging and freight costs and other expenses associated with our work. Our goal is to help provide even more fresh nourishing food for those struggling with food insecurity in our community. It’s no secret that people need to eat healthy food to lead healthy lives. And fresh fruits and vegetables are the very foundation of a healthy diet.

Since opening our doors in May 2014, After the Harvest has provided about 5.2 million pounds of fresh produce to feed hungry people, working with farmers and growers who donate excess and graded-out fresh produce, which we deliver to food banks and agencies serving hungry families.

After the Harvest hopes to provide around 3.3 million pounds this year, but we need your help to reach this goal. We would like very much to include your group in our plans.

As Hunger Action Month approaches, consider signing up to glean or raising funds to help us bring in truckloads of produce that would otherwise go to waste. It costs about $4,500 for freight and packaging to transport each truckload of donated produce.

Thank you to all of the congregations that have joined us this year and here’s an invitation to those who have yet to help as we work together to feed our hungry neighbors in need. If you would like us to provide a speaker (our Yambassadors) to address your group or congregation, answering questions and sharing experiences, please call me at 816-921-1903 or email me at lisa@aftertheharvestkc.org.