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The mission of the Golden Empire Gleaners is to help alleviate hunger and provide food for needy persons of all ages. We accomplish this by collecting and distributing food and agricultural products that might otherwise go to waste. Through the help of our referring agencies, we are able to distribute food to needy children, senior citizens, families in crisis and people who are ill, disabled, homeless or unemployed, and others determined by the Board of Directors to be eligible.
In February, 1985, a bible study group of four men reflected on the goodness The Lord had brought to their lives and the debt of gratitude they felt. They were inspired to do something in return. Their vision was to glean from local farms and fields the estimated 300 million pounds of food that was going to waste annually and to establish a neighborhood food pantry from which food could be distributed to the needy. A site was found and leaders stepped forward to purchase a warehouse. The Gleaners organization had quite miraculously become operational within six months of the bible study group's humble idea. By the end of 1985, over 75,000 pounds of food had been distributed. The Gleaners have been serving the community for over twenty three years. Two full-time staff members and approximately 150 dedicated volunteers manage the day to day operations. Over 15,000 people per month receive food from the Gleaners. Last year alone they distributed over 1.5 million pounds of food in Kern County through the following programs:
- Affiliated Agencies -Serves over 100 churches, missions and shelters
- After School Program - Serves 30 after school and summer programs providing snacks for participating students
- Food for Thought Program - Serves families of school children at over 115 participating schools
- Harvest Time Agencies - Serves over 70 government agencies and non-profit organizations that identify those in need of emergency food
- Senior Sack Program - Serves low-income seniors at 24 sites that include churches and community senior centers.
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