Ron Wagner (former Gleanings staff member, 1997-2007) invited Fritz Meier and Andy Rotunno to fly up to Saskatchewan, Canada and visit the farmers who donate peas and lentils to the Gleanings soup mix production. Each of us went separately for ten days, Fritz in June and Andy in July. What a privilege to meet so many of our donating farmers face to face. As we drove around the beautiful golden province, we realized that we are not merely individuals working for charitable business connections, but we are communities collaborating together to save lives in the name of Jesus. What an encouragement it was to see how expansive the Body of Christ is, and how the Lord has brought us together from across the nations to bring the hope of Christ to so many.
First we visited Hutterite colony farms. These unique communities are so family-oriented, hard-working, hospitable, and generous. Their leaders agree to give truckloads of product to Gleanings each year. When we were there, they invited us into their homes for coffee or a farm fresh meal. They gave us extensive tours of kitchens, vast gardens, shops, and new construction sites. Once we were invited to stay overnight in the colony and spend the evening singing praise and worship together with families. It was such a blessed time, and we were so excited to invite them to come visit Gleanings one day.
We also visited one of our main grain processing partners, Simpson Seeds. We met with their administrative team and shared stories about the impact of the lentils. Jordan, the general manager, said that Gleanings is a perfect fit because we are aligned with the company’s core values. Mr. Simpson shared that Gleanings is a missional extension of Simpson Seeds’ vision, which is to “nourish the world.” It was easy to see that Simpson Seeds is not just a business, but a community. They have processed millions of pounds of lentils on Gleanings’ behalf.
Finally, we visited a small church in a tiny town, invited by good friends (and donating farmers) Kent and Darla Pierce. During the service, Andy shared about children whose lives were saved because of the Gleanings food—peas and lentils grown in their fields. They asked us to stay for an additional question-and-answer time. Farmers in the church promised to give truckload volumes to Gleanings no matter what the coming harvest looks like.
From the rural fields of Saskatchewan to the small town of Dinuba and the many remote nations of the world where Gleanings food is served on a daily basis, communities that love Jesus are committed to feed the needy of the world physically and spiritually. We are one in Christ.