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 strongly encourage everyone to wear a mask while volunteering with us. 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.
We needed to have our AGM (Annual General Meeting) due to Government regulations, however due to Alberta Health regulations regarding meetings we held it in the gym at Hillcrest Evangelical Church, but again could not include our usual fundraising meal. At the AGM we held the election of officers, which involves half of the board needing to be elected every year. This year, due to four board members possibly leaving due to their terms expiring with one of them choosing to retire from the board, we by acclamation, welcomed three of them back and added Frank Clish as the replacement for Laverne Stehr. We would like to thank Laverne for his dedication and hard work on behalf of the Gleaners over the last number of years he served on our board.
Our new board consists of the following people:
Ed Codding – President
Steve Mowers – Vice-President
Jack Reddekopp – Secretary
Jim Grossman – Treasurer
Clarence Dyck – Director
Roy Hjelte – Director
Frank Clish – Director (new to the board)
We also have two employees both of whom are part time, who we could not live without. Our Plant Manager, Ken Martens, is the most wonderful easy going, patient man we have ever met, he somehow makes the most unappealing job seem like a wonderful promotion. Our Office Coordinator, Debra Mowers, makes our job as directors much easier. She has organized the office to the point that it is a pleasure coming here to volunteer. She is probably the most organized person we know.
We applied for a Grant from Community Foundation of Southern Alberta and received $2,350.00. We are using this money to make life easier for our volunteers, by supplying them with new sharper knives, masks, gloves and new aprons. Some of our volunteer ladies, Lorna Jahnke, Shelley Grossman, Dodie Gallerno and camera shy Grace
MacDougall, spent many hours sewing them, and embroidering the Gleaners name on them.
This comes at a very appropriate time as this coming week is Volunteer Appreciation Week. Please feel free to join us at the plant for cookies and or cake all week long.
Due to Covid19 Prairie Gleaners was closed for 9 weeks from March 22nd to June 2nd, 2020. The good news is that the Gleaners is considered an essential service in the food chain for our hungry world. This has allowed us to remain open since then and continue to do what we do, which is to help feed the world’s hungry.
We had 182 workdays for the year. We received 188,502 kg of product, which equates to 1,036 kg (2,279 lbs.) produce used per day.
- Potatoes 50,826 kg
- Carrots 43,557 kg
- Tomatoes 23,152 kg
- Cabbage 19,116 kg
- Lentils (Dry) 14,316 kg
- Rutabagas 11,596 kg
- Peppers 9,109 kg
- Celery 7,981 kg
- Onions 3,872 kg
- Beans (Dry) 2,728 kg
- Broccoli 958 kg
- Squash 889 kg
- Beets 402 kg
3,268 racks were filled during the year (average of 17.96 racks per day). We had over 13,359.50 volunteer hours provided during the year, and averaged 21 volunteers per day. This is down from 22 in 2019, due to our 9 week closure. We sent shipments to Zambia, Dominican Republic, Mozambique, Ukraine, and locally, to the Mustard Seed. Sent by 8 different mission groups/organizations in 5 or 6 different shipments
We the Board of Directors are very grateful for the faithful and generous financial and gifts-in-kind support of you our Gleaners community. We are very happy to be able to report that we ended the year with a very healthy financial picture, thanks to you our donors. We also were able to take advantage of some of the government funding that was made available because of the pandemic.
We have had some interest from our donors to be able to do an automatic Bank withdrawal donation from their Bank account to ours on a monthly basis. If this is of any interest to you, please contact us at 403-526-5240, or email us at [email protected]. The reason we do not have this option at the moment is that there is a cost associated with this service, and unless we have enough people signed up, the cost doesn’t make this a viable option.
Some methods you can use to support the Prairie Gleaners through donations are:
- 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.
- Consider leaving a legacy to the Gleaners in your will.
We welcome and count on your continued support in every way going forward. The budget for 2021 has been set at $151,051.00 and we ask that you continue to prayerfully continue supporting the work of helping feed the hungry of the world.
Looking to the future:
We have had 5 Requests for food in the last 4 months, and have had to delay shipments because we do not have a great variety of product at this time. Hopefully we will be getting more spring and summer vegetables soon to add to our mix for a better variety.
The Board has been in discussion and considering the bottlenecks in our plant. We have decided that the dryers (dehydrators) and the flow of our product from entry as raw material to exit as bagged soup mix enroute to the hungry of the world are our two main problems. We have been discussing the fact that our larger dryer is very inefficient and should probably be replaced with two or three smaller more efficient dryers and possibly adding on to our building to be able to accomplish this.
In order for the Gleaners to continue to do God’s work of feeding the hungry we have to realize that there are many aspects of this organization that have to come together.
Thank you for being a faithful partner in this work!