Feeding the starving masses

If help is needed, the North Okanagan Valley Gleaners are ready, willing and able to do what they can.

Last year, the Vernon-based group produced some seven million meals that were shipped around the world.

Brad Egerton, with the Gleaners, said 1.2-million pounds of vegetables were donated by local farmers along with 150,000 pounds of apples.

The fruit and veggies are processed, dried, packaged and shipped to wherever they're needed.

On Saturday, dozens of volunteers were bagging up 1.2 million meals to send to an aid group in North Korea.

They also recently sent one million meals to Guatemala, to an area that was struck by a volcano.

The Gleaners know no political or religious boundaries.

“Whoever asks, as long as they are reputable, and we can help them out, we want to help them out,” said Egerton. “It's not a matter of what the political environment is, it's the fact there are children in need.”

And it's all done free of charge. The food, equipment and even a massive warehouse in Lavington where the food is processed are donated to the group so they can bless others.

The Gleaners also operate a furniture store in Vernon, with proceeds going back into the organization.

Along with the food, the Gleaners also collect and donate used medical equipment, which not only helps struggling nations, but the environment by keeping material out of local landfills.

“Over the last six years we are at over $30-million in medical supplies that have been shipped,” said Egerton, adding the Gleaners make sure the equipment is clean and in good working order before it is shipped out.

More information on the NOVG can be found online.

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