Local Farmers and Community Volunteers Helping Less Fortunate

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Summertime has an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. The local farmers with the help of community volunteers are getting the crop left-over to those less fortunate.

Several plump, juicy tomatoes were ripe for the picking in Slocomb and 10 United Methodist Churches teamed up with local farmers to do just that pick pounds and pounds of tomatoes.

The process is called "gleaning" and it's an ancient process dating back to when the less fortunate could go to the fields and pick up unwanted produce after harvest.

It happens during the harvest and the crops are used to help the Wiregrass area United Way Food Bank.

"I think people feel the call to help out to give to their neighbor. It's an opportunity that we all do to get our hands on - literally get your hands into the tomato bush and pick tomatoes and give them to the Wiregrass Area Food Bank who can give it to people who need it," said Rev. Sterling Boykin.

Although there have been drought conditions this year, local farmers say they still have an excellent tomato crop and that makes it possible for this gleaning project.

The church project, now in its third year, isn't the only one that has been helping the food bank. The organization says that they've been receiving all kinds of fruits and vegetables.

"We estimate 35,000 people will go to bed hungry in the Wiregrass. And those people are at poverty level or below and those are the people we consider a food emergency. We realize here that it's a community organization and we can't accomplish anything without the community," said David Hanks of the Wiregrass Area United Way Food Bank

To find out more about how to donate fresh fruits or vegetables to the food bank, you can contact them at 794-9775.