THE SIMPLE ANSWER
The simple answer to this question is the Church.
Gleanings partners with many different kinds of organizations such as schools, orphanages, prisons, churches, nonprofits, food banks, disaster relief organizations, and more. These groups represent the Church, the Body of Christ, sharing His love on the ground in their communities. Below I'll explain a few different ways that food actually gets from Gleanings' warehouse in Dinuba, California to hungry people around the world, but the main idea is that Gleanings' primary mission is to produce nutritious food and make it available to organizations around the world that have a vision of restoration for their local communities. In this way the food is a tool that helps mobilize the Church to reach new people with the Gospel.
All throughout the year Gleanings is producing food; dried fruit in the summer, and dehydrated soup mix year round. The food is made ready and stored in Gleanings warehouse on site. Through various channels and networks people learn about the availability of Gleanings food. Both small and large organizations can make requests for food for both short-term and long-term projects. The leaders at Gleanings take time to learn about each organization, the vision and strategy. They always pray about the people and the projects, seeking God's guidance in helping each group. Then a decision is made or feedback is given in order to ensure the food is truly going out to help people in need and their community. A partnership is forged, trucks show up, and resources begin to move.
It is one of the most amazing experiences to be at Gleanings and working on product when suddenly the bell rings, work stops, and everyone goes out to the driveway to pray over a truck full of food and resources on its way to a special ministry somewhere in the world.
The food is shipped in large cargo containers. Most of the time the requesting organization covers the cost of shipping the food. There are also special circumstances where Gleanings pays for the shipping of food for urgent needs. Gleanings and each organization work together to ensure the shipment moves along and is finally delivered to the distribution site. Once the container arrives the organization is free to use the food in their various ministries and programs. The one requirement Gleanings has for this food is that it would go out with the love of Christ and the Gospel.
There are hundreds of amazing stories of Gleanings food making its way into the hands and homes of real people. One story that comes to mind was told at Gleanings a few summers back. The Gleanings team actually went out to be a part of the distribution in the countryside of Guatemala. They arrived in a small house where a single mother lived with her children. They started friendly conversation and asked her if she liked the soup. She began to cry and said, "For the past five years my children and I have had nothing to eat other than this soup." Then she began to thank them over and over and over again. The regular availability of food and the care of the church gives families like hers a foothold to climb out of the normal poverty cycle. Like I said, there are hundreds of stories!
Every year Gleanings sends out team members to be a part of special distribution projects around the world. You can visit their site and see some of the current projects. Right now food is being shipped to Greece where it will be distributed to Syrian refugee families. Food is also being sent to Haiti in the continued relief effort after Hurricane Matthew. Gleanings also facilitates a Discipleship Training School (DTS) as you can read about in our previous posts. The DTS team is always involved in new projects and distributions.
All of this is dependent on the availability of food that Gleanings can produce.
If you know of a ministry that could use food and resources, contact Gleanings!
We can't wait to live and experience our own stories and share them with you. Partner with us! Get involved by SUBSCRIBING, SUPPORTING, and SHARING today!