Celebrating Global Youth Service Day 2005
4th Ladner Guides experienced a unique camping experience at Fraser Valley Gleaners in Abbotsford, BC www.fvgleaners.org Fraser Valley Gleaners Society processes surplus food. Gleaners recognizes that as Canadians we are blessed with an abundant food supply, much of which remains unharvested or is deemed unmarketable. Gleaners brings 'waste' and 'need' together and helps alleviate both. Through the committed efforts of 2,500 volunteer hours per month and financial donors, Gleaners produced more than 5 million servings of soup in 2004. One million of this was shipped for Tsunami relief. Processing is done in the plant in Abbotsford where produce is cut, sliced and spread on "baking trays". The trays are put on dollies and wheeled into an industrial dryer which uses convection heat to dry the produce. Depending on the type of produce it takes 7-10 hours before the produce is sufficiently dried. Once dry, it is transferred from the trays into storage barrels. At the end of the season the dehydrated ingredients are mixed, packaged into sealed bags and packed into 45 gallon barrel, ready for shipment.
Five girls and three leaders from 4th Guides arrived at Gleaners on Friday evening. A race ensued to see who could set up their tent first...the 5 girls or the 3 Guiders...
TaDa! The winners are... Kelsey, Linda, Maya, Tegan and Chelsea-Rose.
After participating in a compass treasure hunt designed by 3rd year Guide, Linda, and playing Bioviva, a board (not bored, but fun!) nature trivia game, we ate a delicious snack of vegetable soup. Guider, Darlene asked the girls "Do you want a S'more?" The unanimous reply after 2 or 3 servings of soup was "No, we are full!" That was until the girls discovered it was a s'more treat not s'more (soup). We giggled about that misunderstanding!
Kelsey enjoyed her first ever experience sleeping in a tent, but wished it was a few hours longer.
We began our volunteer service at 8:30 AM scraping a ton of dehydrated broccoli off the baking trays.
Well, not quite a ton, only 1,200 pounds of broccoli! That's how much fresh broccoli fits into the industrial dryer. After scraping broccoli, some of us helped remove the 200 Teflon sheets from the baking trays to soak them in preparation for cleaning.
Tegan Maya & Tegan
We shared delicious Girl Guide cookies with the volunteers at coffee break.. Then we prepared potatoes for 2 hours. Chelsea-Rose commented, "Wow, my mother does a lot of work every day when she makes us dinner." The Guiders smiled at Chelsea-Rose's enlightenment.
Chelsea-Rose, Marcia & Kelsey Maya, Linda and Estelle
The girls loved working at Gleaners. It is a place where many ages come together to make a difference for the world... from 12 year olds to seniors in their 80's. Every hour of volunteer work produces the equivalent of 140 servings of soup. Each one of us from 4th Guides, produced about 560 servings of soup for a total of 4,480 servings during our 4-hour shift. Wow! This Gleaners' experience was a wonderful demonstration of making a difference.
Two of the enthusiastic Guides, Maya and Chelsea-Rose plan to return with their families to volunteer. Linda, who has been volunteering at Gleaners for 3 years, will continue volunteering once a month.
Maybe readers would like to try The Okanagan Gleaners in central BC or the Ontario Gleaners after it opens in 2006...
Mountains of produced, spared from the landfill or rotting in fields, has been used to feed the hungry. .