Q&A with Volunteer Carol Williamson
Name: Carol Williamson
How did you get involved with gleaning? My husband and I have long been financial supporters of Philabundance. In the late spring of 2014, we got one of the periodic mailings describing Philabundance projects. There was a blurb about gleaning and the independent toy store where I worked had recently closed so I was looking for new ways to volunteer. Being outdoors, picking vegetables and thereby helping others sounded very attractive. The sign-up process was super easy and the farm was a simple 30-minute drive from my house so I decided to give it a try… 2016 marks my third season of gleaning!
Do you volunteer at other Philabundance sites? After the 2014 gleaning season I decided to give volunteering in the South Philadelphia warehouse a try. Once again, the sign-up process and the drive were both easy. I am now a Hunger Relief Center regular!
Have you ever worked on a farm before? I’d never worked on a farm until I began gleaning.
Do you have a favorite or least favorite produce? To pick: I loved the day we picked eggplant. Corn is fun too—the picking bags make a huge difference. To eat: I am fickle. When it is blueberry season, blueberries are my favorite, when it is peach season, peaches are my favorite. I love corn and tomatoes too—and the gleaning team introduced me to the concept of eating corn raw!! Yum!
What keeps you coming back to glean? One of the things that keeps me coming back is the outdoor component. I love being outside. I enjoy the quiet of working a row of corn and not seeing anything except plants and sky; although it’s really the people who keep me coming back. The Philabundance staff and the other volunteers are interesting, enthusiastic people and I’ve enjoyed meeting and working with them.
Answer if someone asks, “Should I glean?” Give it a try! Wear sensible shoes, dress in layers, put on sun block and come spend a few hours at a farm making a difference for your neighbors who are facing hard times.
How does gleaning connect you to our mission of driving hunger from our communities today, and ending hunger forever? While boxes of whole wheat pasta or a bin of canned goods are great foods to encourage, there’s also something very real about the way the corn (and other produce) seems more tangible. Filling up the huge containers with bag after bag of corn, watching them loading it all onto the truck, knowing how delicious it is, and knowing it will be on someone’s table within a few days is very concrete, and very rewarding.