Recently I've begun to volunteer with the Society of St. Andrew - Gleaning America's Fields. I'm helping glean the harvest which is then donated to our local food banks. Our first harvest was sweet corn kindly donated by Foxfire Farm of Louisburg, KS, a u-pick farm.
From the their website:
The Society of St. Andrew is a grassroots hunger relief ministry that relies on volunteers to glean nutritious produce from farmers' fields and orchards after harvest and deliver it to people in need across the United States.
Gleaning the Harvest is a Biblical term and comes from ancient times when farmer's would allow the poor to harvest their leftover crops that would otherwise go to rot.
Our 3 year old son joined us for the harvest. I wasn't sure what to expect from him as he's wary of new people and isn't an early riser. He ended up having a great time helping mommy load the ears of corn in the bucket and meeting me at the end of the corn row for more. When he got tired of these things I let him eat his picnic lunch in the front seat of our vehicle and play with his toys.
The Society of St. Andrew coordinates these harvest donations to the local food banks. The day we picked, there were 4 volunteers and we harvested 782 lbs of corn in just a couple hours! With so many people struggling to feed their families these days, this was a great way to give back!
Another great organization is www.backyardharvest.org. Be sure to check out their website to see if there's any local chapters in your area. They collect donated produce from people's personal garden's to donate to local food banks.