We inspected and processed 535,000 pounds of peaches in just four days, in addition to packing 29,000 pounds of dried peaches in buckets.
Before you visit Gleanings for the Hungry, it’s hard to wrap your mind around those kinds of numbers. But when you come here and place your hand on a peach or a handful of dried soup, and see the tremendous amounts of donated food that would otherwise be wasted, it makes so much sense that someone—everyone—would want to do something with the overabundance of food produced in California.
This food is ready to ship to hungry people around the world! Praise God for the way He provides for the poor and needy, including widows and orphans in remote places!
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
WHO WAS HERE THIS WEEK?
A small but mighty group this week, right? We lovingly call them “Tacoma”—First Presbyterian (Tacoma, WA). They were fierce workers! And with the help of Village Church (Burbank, CA), Auburn First Assembly, the Ayars family, the Van Hill Family, and many more short and long term volunteers, including backpackers from Mexico, China, Malaysia, Japan, Columbia, Peru, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, Summer Staff, and full-time staff, this week was a big success—even with a smaller group than we anticipated!
Convoy of Hope was here this week, driving away with 7,982 pounds of soup mix and 29,227 pounds of dried peaches, and The Container Ministry left with 40,115 pounds of soup mix.
FEEDING 30,000 DAILY IN GUATEMALA
“How do you feed 30,000 kids a day? Come on down, I’ll show ya!” Eric Rivera said, almost as a dare.
Eric and his wife Lisa, once part of the YWAM staff at Gleanings, are now living with their children in Antigua, Guatemala, distributing Gleanings food daily. The food is given to the pastors at 250 churches around the country, and the pastors make sure the people who are hungry receive the food they need.
The number of hungry children in Guatemala who are fed daily with Gleanings food is currently 30,000 per day.
“We can’t go to 250 churches every month. It’s just not possible,” Eric said. “So we go to certain villages and there will be 15 pastors waiting for us.”
Eric and his team also go into some of the most isolated areas, the roughest terrain, in order to bring food to those who need it most. “We go places no one else wants to go,” he said. “There is 90 percent unemployment in some of the villages we go into.”
Bringing food is a way to give people hope. “It seems like everyone’s forgotten them. It seems like God has forgotten them. But he hasn’t.”
“Food is a tool to share the gospel. I sincerely believe that,” Eric said. “We give food, and the people say, ‘Why are you doing this?’”
Why are we doing this? That is a good question to ask. Eric had actually decided in his heart that he never wanted to go to Guatemala. Yet that is the very place God called him to, the very place where all the doors flew open and he knew it was meant to be. “We are happy there,” he said. “We have a nice life there.”
It is was so wonderful to see the Rivera family back at Gleanings for a short visit! Praise God for your faithful ministry to the poor in Guatemala!
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
SHARE THE LOVE
We enjoyed a great spirit of unity this week! Here are some of the things our volunteers shared on the open mic Saturday morning:
“Even though this group is small, it’s full of spirit.”
“This is my fourth time here, and this is the most manual labor I’ve done when I’ve been here. But it’s been in the best spirit.”
“I feel I grow up in Christ here.”
“The fear in my heart in speaking in front of people is gone.”
“I did not expect backpack traveling could change my life tremendously, but God used the traveling experience—all the things together—to show lots of his glory to me.”
“I encourage you to bring this spirit of Gleanings into all areas of your life.”
“I learned what a gift it is to be able to serve.”
“I feel like I’ve been ignoring God for a long time. I feel like I want to give back in that relationship with him.”
“God is chasing you all the time, and whatever you need is there.”
“I had a heart full of stones, almost. I came here and it’s been so great.”
“We are a greater family.”
“Literally, the fruit of your hard work is here.”
“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God …” John 1:12