Last night, at the ATH Holiday Thank You Party, Silver Spades and accolades were handed out to our fantastic volunteers, who made 2016 an outstanding year in providing healthy food to hungry people in our area.
2016 Silver Spade Award Winners
Volunteer of the Year Award
This year, because we had two outstanding volunteers who helped us beyond measure, we called it a tie, awarding two people “Volunteer of the Year”. Both of these volunteers came to a double-digit amount of gleanings and did just as many salvage pick ups for us. When we needed help, even on short notice, we knew we could count on these two.
Randy Burdge, in addition to gleaning 31 times this year, used his own hotel points to stay and help table at a farmer conference in Springfield, MO. Randy checks in to see if we need help for upcoming gleanings and gladly brings his truck if we know there will be lots to deliver. He is always willing to help wherever and whenever we need him.
Jeff Horn became our go-to man this gleaning for salvage pickups at Mitzvah Garden. He made pickups almost weekly and was always willing to make multiple deliveries without complaint. He has gleaned 21 times and recruits his family to help when needed. This year he also helped us figure out and create a flooring system for our new van.
This special award is only given in years when, over time, a specific volunteer has made a lasting, game-changing, heroic contribution to the organization.
Tom Decker has worked tirelessly for After the Harvest…no matter what we needed. He, and often, his generous wife Barb, have been there to help our initial two-person and now five-person staff get the job done and the produce moved to those who need it most. As a matter of fact, Tom worked almost as many hours as our paid staff in our initial first year…and worked many, many hours in the following gleaning seasons. He drove trucks, he lugged salvage (at least 9 pickups in the last 4 months), he supervised gleanings, he moved boxes and supplies from storage units to gleaning sites, he gleaned, he helped at farmer and volunteer events, he delivered to pantries, he let us stuff his van full of turnips…and he even made his own ATH t-shirts and business cards to promote our mission.
“Cream of the Crop” Awards
The volunteers and supporters who went above and beyond, contributing time, talent, treasure and voice to our effort received the “Cream of the Crop” Award.
Sally Luck has been a dedicated supporter and strong advocate for our organization for many years. In 2014, as we started building our organization, Sally worked with a core team from the Advisory Board and then stepped up to become our first Board President. She led our Board through two years of active engagement as we put into place the things a nonprofit organization needs to succeed. Sally has given greatly of her time and expertise, as well as her own financial support, and continues serving on the board today.
Christina Martin has been and continues to be critical to the success of this organization. She has worked tirelessly on a pro bono basis, even though health challenges, building the foundation of this organization. After the Harvest is her fifth nonprofit startup. Through the years, Christina has provided guidance and expertise in many areas including grant writing and fundraising. She serves on the Board of Directors and will become the Board President next year.
Mary Dees joined our ranks last year and we can’t imagine life before her. She is an active VEG Squader, served on the VEG Squad planning committee, hosted the “Beet ‘n’ Greet” at her home, has done public speaking for us as our Yambassador and is a fundraiser extraordinaire…and constantly nudges us to improve.
Elisa Haake has helped tirelessly over the last two years–and without ever saying no–with our marketing and social media efforts. She heads up our Marketing Committee and sits on our Greens&Jeans Committee and Advisory Boards.
Amy Crouse is one dedicated office volunteer! Since ATH’s beginnings, Amy has come to our offices every week to enter gleaning data and help with other projects. She has stuck with us through multiple database systems and problems. This year she also used her photography talents to capture our gleaners in action.
Matt Heenan came to us in January as a weekly office volunteer. But as we got into gleaning season, he quickly turned into one of our most counted on volunteers. Time after time, Matt would send an e-mail saying: “I can come to the office tomorrow or I can glean on Thursday.” He even recruited his family and girlfriend to glean on weekends!
Pastor WT Bolen helps us distribute produce to those in need on the East side of KC and whenever we have an abundance of produce, we can count on WT to help us get it those who are hungry. He not only picks up from gleanings, but also every week at Overland Park Farmers market and distributes to those in need in his church’s community as well as Salvation Army, KC Rescue Mission and others.
Jay Feltheim is our designated volunteer for salvages at City Bitty Farm in South KC. Jay works directly with the farm—picking up and delivering their excess greens. This year he has picked up and delivered at least 12 loads. In addition, Jay contributed to our VEG Squad planning committee and tabled for us at a volunteer recruitment event.
Susan Kreidler faithfully picks up salvage weekly at a Midtown grocery store and delivers it to the KC Indian Center. There have been times when the planned delivery agency was closed and Susan drove around finding a place that would accept the food.
Vanetta Word has been a long time proponent of healthy eating in KCK. Vanetta works at Mount Carmel Redevelopment Center and works tirelessly to make sure she is offering healthy choices to those she serves. She often picks up produce at local farms to distribute at Mt. Carmel.
Joe Steineger has been working with us since the beginning, and has taught us so much about growing and harvesting. Before we met Joe, he was growing for food pantries in KCK, and when he heard about our gleaning program, he called to get our help. Since then, he has plowed up more land and planted more crops that he donates directly to After the Harvest for distribution throughout the community. Since 2014, he has donated 23,577 lbs. of produce.
VEG Squad kudos
In 2016, our VEG (Vegetable Emergency Glean) Squad, was born. This quick response team came to the fields on short notice on weekdays–the toughest volunteer slots to fill. They came to our rescue again and again. These VEG Squaders gleaned (or helped with salvage/delivery to put them over the top) more than five times throughout the season.
Randy Burdge, Jeff Horn, Mary Dees, Suzy Conaway, Kathy Lueckert, Nancy McDonald, Tom Decker, Barb Decker, Toni Pennisi, Richard McKie, Matt Heenan, Julia Stepanenko, Andrei Kolobrodov, Valerie Saur, Barbara Russell, Barb Chapman, Loxie Stock