We, the Board of Directors of The Prairie Gleaners, hope this newsletter finds you safe and healthy. We are open, and volunteers, both new and returning are welcome. These are extremely trying and unprecedented times, with self-isolating and practicing social distancing in order to keep ourselves and our loved ones as safe as we possibly can. We continue to abide by all Health Canada and Alberta Health Services guidelines in this trying time. We do not strictly enforce wearing masks, however we strongly encourage everyone to wear one. Masks don’t only protect you, they also protect the people you are in contact with. We do supply masks if for some reason you forget yours. We want everyone to feel safe and comfortable while volunteering with us. If you have been a previous volunteer, but have not come out since Covid19, we encourage you to come out again when you feel comfortable doing so.
During this time of thanksgiving, we are continuing our task of gleaning and are extremely thankful for all of our donor partners as well as our many volunteers who come out to the plant to help us do God’s work of feeding the hungry of the world. We are also thankful for God’s provision in this endeavor. He has been faithful in providing for all our needs over the last 11 years, and we are sure He will continue to do so.
In October 2019, we partnered with Global Emergency Missions Society (GEMS) to supply a 20 foot sea container of our dehydrated soup mix to the people in Santa Rosa, Guatemala. Throughout the fall of 2019 and early winter of 2020 we were busy at the plant receiving, washing, dicing, dehydrating and bagging vegetables; but had nowhere to ship to so were storing our soup mix at the plant. We had 294 – 45 gallon barrels full of product just waiting for someone to need it. Then miraculously things changed. In April of this year we received a request for a 40 foot sea container to go to Zambia through Dynamic Churches International, Beautiful Feet Ministries from Saskatoon, which came in as a result of the global situation. We, the board, and a few courageous volunteers spent all of May bagging our product getting ready for this and other possible requests. At that time we had closed the plant because we were trying to keep our volunteers protected from this virus, however felt we needed to get our product bagged and ready for shipment. On May 7th we loaded the 40 foot sea container which held 21,100 kg (46,420 lbs) of soup mix, which is approximately 1.39 million cups of soup. The sea container left Medicine Hat, arrived in Calgary, then by train to Halifax, and by ship to Zambia. It was a lesson for us that God will supply all our needs including a recipient for our product.
We have also taken some steps to help our Local and Provincial communities deal with this pandemic. We have given some of our soup mix to the local Food Bank for use should they find themselves in a critical situation regarding food availability. We have also contacted our local MLA, to ensure he is aware of us and affirm that we have soup mix available and are able to provide it at a moment’s notice. We have also joined a Provincial registry for organizations who are able, and willing, to provide support. In this case offering food through our soup mix. To date, we have not received a request from the Provincial Government, but the offer is there.
We have also joined with the Medicine Hat chapter of the Mustard Seed to provide them with two (2) bags of our dehydrated soup mix weekly, which when rehydrated is equivalent to approximately 240 cups of soup. The Mustard Seed tells us that their clients love the taco soup, or chili that their food preparation cooks make with our dehydrated vegetables. This program started in July as a 3 month trial and has since been expanded to be a more permanent agreement.
The plant was opened again on June 3rd on an appointment basis, where volunteers were asked to call the plant to make sure we were not too booked up as we were trying to keep within the Alberta Health Services as well as Health Canada guidelines regarding the number of people allowed in the plant at a time.
On June 4th we partnered with GEMS and were able to supply a 20 foot sea container to the people of Guatemala and The Dominican Republic. We supplied 17 pallets of our soup mix which consisted of 9600 bags, which is equivalent to 1,200,000 cups of soup. This shipment left our plant on the 4th via a semi owned by East West Express enroute to Calgary, then on to Vancouver, then shipped to The Dominican Republic.
On Friday, June 26th, we sent a 40 foot sea container containing 16 pallets of the soup mix which is equivalent to 17,139 kg to Zambia with our partners from Dynamic Churches International, Beautiful Feet Ministries from Saskatoon. This amounts to approximately 1,130,000 cups of soup. Along with this shipment our partners in Saskatoon added 7,100 kg of school books and Bibles gathered by Christian Salvage Mission. This shipment left Medicine Hat, arrived in Calgary, then by train to Vancouver, by ship to The Philippines, and finally off to East Africa and Zambia.
We are so appreciative of our donors who regularly supply us with vegetables for processing, as well as other donations. Some of the produce that is donated to us are as follows: cabbage, rutabagas, carrots, squash, string beans, onions, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, peppers, beets, potatoes, celery, and lentils.
Other donors include such items as loads of gravel for our parking lot, and a mill grinder which we will be using to grind our beans and lentils as it makes it easier for those who receive our vegetable mix to make into soup, chili, or whatever food they make with it.
Using 2019 data, we have come up with the following interesting information.
We produced 320 barrels of product and assuming 6-7 barrels per lift, using 7 to be pessimistic, gives 42 lifts of bagged product. Our fully burdened cost was $127,645. 00 for 2019. This gives $2,775 per lift, assuming 80 boxes per lift this gives $34.69 per box. Assuming 7 bags per box, therefore $4.95 per bag. Assuming 100 cups of soup per bag, the cost per cup is $0.05.
Not much goes to waste here at the Gleaners.
One of our neighbors, and a couple of our regular volunteers own farms and have a number of pigs and horses they are feeding. On days that they come to glean, we send them home with all of the non-useable (by humans) trimmings and their livestalk love it. We also have a local Worm Farm owned by Roxanne Doerksen called TRAD Worm Industries, that collects this same refuse and feeds it to their worms, who turn it into a soil amendment called castings, that can be used in your garden. You can check them out on You Tube, Facebook, or on their website www.tradwormindustries.com .
We truly appreciate your financial support. We are 100% donor driven and your gifts are strictly used to operate the facility. If you would like to be a part of the ongoing work of the Prairie Gleaners, please consider leaving a legacy to the Gleaners in your will. As you can see from the 2020 Budget Income thermometer we are definitely not as financially stable as we had planned when we came up with our current budget.
Due to our inability to have our normal AGM (a usually excellent fundraiser) as well as our Fall Banquet (also a major source of funds), we have a considerable budget shortfall as you can see from the thermometer to the right.
Some methods you can use to support the Prairie Gleaners through donations are.
- Monthly bank account withdrawals (talk to your bank about this)
- ETransfer auto deposit to our email address: [email protected]
- By mail to Prairie Gleaners at PO Box 656, Medicine Hat, AB T1A 7G6
- Drop off at the plant at 11502 Range Road 63, Cypress County
- On our website, click on the link CanadaHelps.org and use either Visa, MasterCard or Pay Pal
Some items to consider for donation opportunities.
- Donate the cost of your Fall Banquet Meal if you were to have come: $25.00
- Donate to cover the cost of a roll of teflon to line our dehydrating trays: $735.00
- Donate to cover the cost of 20 sheets of teflon to line one rack of trays: $205.00
- Donate to cover the cost of our Monthly Utilities (gas, electricity): $1200.00 per month
- Donate to cover the cost of bags for our vegetable mix $0.11 each
- Donate to cover the cost of one stainless steel cutting table: $850.00
- Donate to cover the cost of a lift of our vegetable mix: $2,775.00
- Donate to cover the cost of a box of our vegetable mix: $35.00
- Donate to cover the cost of a bag of our vegetable mix: $4.95
- Donate to cover the cost of fuel for the truck for one month: $150.00
- Donate to cover the cost of a snow blower for walkways: $1000.00
We at the Gleaners, request your prayers for the following items:
- Due to Covid-19 our volunteer base has changed. As a result we have a number of new volunteers, while some of our regulars have not felt comfortable to attend as yet. If you have friends who are looking for something to do, bring them with you, we would love to have them join us.
- Like every charity, we have seen a significant drop in our financial support, but we know that God has provided for us in the past and He will do so in the future, in His time. We, the Board of The Prairie Gleaners Society, have been actively praying for God’s intervention in this matter. We are asking you to join us in prayer regarding our financial resources, and volunteer base, and in general feeding the hungry.
Don’t forget to check out our Facebook Page: Prairie Gleaners Society, and our NEW
Website: www.prairiegleaners.com for current plant activities, and You Tube by searching “Prairie Gleaners”. You can find 9 different video clips ranging from 30 seconds to about 20 minutes in length.
Upcoming requests for food
We have recently received a number of food requests of varying sizes, from a variety of Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s). Faith Missions from Winkler Manitoba has requested 2 lifts, Global Emergency Missions Society (GEMS) has requested 5 lifts, and Food for the Hungry have requested a 20 foot sea container.
We would like to sincerely thank all of our volunteers, donors, staff, and anyone else who has been partnering with us to help feed the hungry, through prayer or whatever means they have at their disposal.