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WALTHAM, MA, February 17, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Boston Area Gleaners, a nonprofit committed to ending hunger, reducing food waste and supporting local agriculture, is launching a fundraising campaign today to secure a new facility. Gleaning, a communal practice that dates back millennia, invites those in need to harvest excess crops from farm fields. For Boston Area Gleaners, this practice is at the center of a contemporary mission to use volunteers to harvest and distribute local surplus produce to families in the region - serving a need which has grown exponentially in recent years.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought food insecurity across eastern Massachusetts to an all-time high. According to Feeding America, the region is experiencing a 66% increase in the number of people struggling with access to healthy food, with 1 in 8 individuals now food insecure. The Gleaners who were awarded several rounds of contracts from the USDA's Farmers to Families Food Box Program, assembled mixed boxes of fresh produce, and met tight delivery schedules due to the massive demand. Through this and other efforts, the Gleaners distributed over 5 million pounds of fresh produce in 2020 - more than 5 times the amount distributed in the previous year.
As Boston Area Gleaners continues to answer the ongoing demand from hunger relief agencies, the organization will expand its operational footprint in 2021 with the purchase of a permanent facility. A new fundraising campaign -'Grow the Gleaners,'- with a goal of $4.1 million, is kicking off today to support this important effort.
From their new facility, the Gleaners will more efficiently move surplus food - an estimated additional 4.5 million pounds annually - from farms in Massachusetts to their network of over 550 emergency food providers across the region. Additionally, this new facility will house the Gleaner's newest program, the Boston Food Hub, a program recognized nationally for its innovative model designed to proactively capture surplus farm produce by aiding farmers in bringing crops to market.
Executive Director Usha Thakrar said, "We have a creative and passionate team that has helped provide millions of pounds of fresh food to thousands of families, despite the limitations of our current space. I am excited to see how much we will be able to grow our programs, and therefore our impact, with this new facility."
There are many ways to donate in support of their growth, starting with visiting their website at www.growthegleaners.org.
Boston Area Gleaners is a 501(c)3 non-profit that recovers surplus fresh produce from local farms and distributes it to client-serving emergency food organizations in Massachusetts.
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