On November 29th, 2016, Gleaners participated in Giving Tuesday and invited those in our 21 county service area to take the BackSack Challenge in a goal to provide 10,000 BackSacks to hungry Hoosier kids. Thanks to a generous match from our friends Sandor Development and our Giving Tuesday donors, Gleaners not only met but exceeded the goal to provide 10,683 BackSacks to hungry children in our community.
Last Thursday, Gleaners hosted some of the donors from Giving Tuesday to come in and make BackSacks for kids in need. One of our Giving Tuesday donors has been volunteering with Gleaners for over two years. We asked her what inspired her to give and what encouraged her to volunteer.
"Not only is Gleaners a non-judgement zone that helps families during difficult times, but it strives to serve the entire community by seeking to reduce crime by providing food resources. I am grateful to be able to be a small part of that process!"
Sharon Whitaker has been volunteering with Gleaners for just over 2 years. When asked about how she got involved, she mentioned she initially got involved when a team she worked with volunteered at the Pantry around the holidays. She said, "The clients served were so grateful for the service provided and thanked us for taking the time to be there for them. Additionally, the clients only took what they needed, many said, 'I won’t use that so keep it for someone who will'." That experience moved Sharon to volunteer on her own. The current Pantry space, designed to replicate a shopping experience, allows clients to maintain their dignity. Clients from all walks of life come through the doors; some share their situation, others don’t, but the one common denominator is they are very grateful for the services provided.
Sharon said she was motivated to donate on Giving Tuesday because she sees the children who come through the Pantry and see how excited they are to help shop and (most) don’t get upset when they can’t have more than one dessert, snack or beverage item; they, too, are grateful. She chose to donate to the BackSack program to ensure children have something to eat on the weekends—but also because she has seen those faces come through the Pantry and knows they appreciate what they receive. When asked about why she came in to make BackSacks following Giving Tuesday, she said, "I volunteered to help fill the BackSacks because it was another area of Gleaners that I wanted to learn about."