Agencies are the third side of the triangle of gleaning. Agencies are the places where gleaned food is distributed to those who are in need. Agencies can take a variety of forms. The goal is to get the produce onto the tables of hungry persons as quickly and efficiently as possible.
What is an Agency: Agencies may include Food Banks, soup kitchens, food pantries, homeless shelters, orphanages, and subsidized housing projects.
Agency Requirements: Any agency which is a nonprofit, feeds those in need, and doesn’t charge for the food may be considered for distribution. If an organization accepts payment for the food, it may complicate the donation due to the requirements of the Good Samaritan Act.
Online Food Assistance Directories: Search for local agencies via online food assistance directories such as 221.org, AmpleHarvest.org and FoodPantries.org
Call County Department of Social Service: Ask if there is any organization that feeds the needy or distributes food in the county.
Call County Housing Authority: Ask for a list of subsidized housing projects and the names and phone numbers of the Resident Councils’ Presidents.
Contact Local Community Service Outreach Organization: Ask for names of agencies they work with.
Contact Local Ministerial Alliance: Ask for names of agencies within their network.
When Building a Database of Agencies, Find Out:
The name and phone number of the contact person
The kind of agency (shelter, soup kitchen, etc.)
The amount of produce the agency can handle
The hours that the agency is open
Directions to the agency location
If the agency is a “middle man” and distributes produce to any other agencies in the area. This is to insure that you do not duplicate such distribution.
Deciding on a Distribution Location:
Where is the field located? What agencies are closest?
If an individual with a truck is distributing the produce, from where is the individual coming? Would be it more convenient to find an agency closer to their home or on their route from the field to home?
How much food is expected to be gleaned? Could one agency handle all of it or does it need to be divided between several agencies?
Call Agency: Make certain that the agency wants and can pick up or receive the food on the given day.
Confirmation: The day before the event, follow up with the agency to ensure they can still pick up/receive the produce. Make certain that you have the correct directions to the agency along with contact information or if the agency is coming to pick up from the field that they have correct directions and your contact information.
Society of St. Andrew Georgia Gleaning Network opened in Tifton in 2007. It is a southwest Georgia town with a population of about 20,000 citizens but rich with crop farmers in the immediate area. Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) covers a gleaning operation for all of the state of Georgia, overseen by the Program Coordinator. The state currently has one Area Coordinator in Cleveland, Georgia, covering the mountain region in North Georgia. The VISTA works alongside the Program Coordinator in Tifton, gathering best practices of gleaning to expand the gleaning network to other regions in south Georgia. Being located in a Southern U.S., rural area presents several challenges including transportation for both volunteers and recipients, aging populations, lack of economic development in small communities, lack of access to fresh produce, and racially divided communities. Georgia ranks ninth in the nation when it comes to food insecurity for the senior population, and overall food insecurity for the state is 16.7 percent in 2015. As of November 2017, the SoSA Gleaning Network with has collected 1.3 million pounds of produce that has been distributed to community agencies throughout Georgia.