More than 100 WCU students have assisted the Jackson County Glean Team with harvesting more than 14,500 pounds of excess produce and goods to combat food insecurity since June, said Willie Jones, an AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America or VISTA member with Western Carolina University’s Center for Service Learning.
Five growers/distributors have allowed glean team volunteers to conduct 27 gleans – events in which volunteers are allowed to harvest or collect excess food to benefit others, said Jones. The team will now focus on winter glean opportunities including the “Fill-the-Bag” program in which volunteers collect canned goods and toiletry items.
Founded by Jones, the Jackson County Glean Team is a group of volunteers that participates in service and educational initiatives that support efforts to fight hunger and create a healthy and environmentally-sustainable community. The glean team’s donations have benefited organizations including the Community Table, United Christian Ministries and The Market in Jackson County.