Wednesday August 28th, Hope’s Harvest RI hosted our first ever volunteer orientation at the Urban Greens Food Co-op in Providence. The event was led by HHRI founder Eva Agudelo and Ruth Solomon, a summer staff member working with HHRI through the Americorp VISTA program. Despite the rainy weather outside, the orientation was full of new faces alongside experienced volunteers all eager to learn more about the project. Eva and Ruth began the presentation by defining key terms like “gleaning”, and “surplus food”. Eva also explained HHRI’s mission and how the organization works to solve issues of food waste and food access in the Rhode Island food system. As Ms. Agudelo said, “Our strategy is straightforward and easy to understand. We recruit volunteers like yourselves to rescue surplus foods from farmer’s fields then Hope’s Harvest staff delivers that food to food pantries all over RI”.
Ruth then led a discussion about the many benefits of gleaning for volunteers. Natasha Daniels, an experienced gleaning volunteer, said “Meeting the farmers is rewarding to me, it helps me feel more connected to my local food system”. . Other reasons to volunteer with HHRI were brought up by the volunteers in attendance, including spending more time outside and meeting new people.
Volunteers also learned about key partners in Hope’s Harvest network, including farmers and food pantries. Ruth and Eva concluded the presentation with an introduction to some new and exciting volunteer roles now available, including outreach ambassadors, ride-along helpers, and drivers. As Ruth said during the orientation, beyond gleaning, HHRI also needs people to help with deliveries and farmer’s market food rescues, recruiting new helpers from our local community, and expanding our network of volunteers.
HHRI is working hard to give volunteers the opportunity to engage with us on multiple levels, while also having the best volunteer experience possible. Ultimately, we want to expand our capacity to provide wholesome food to those in need and we can’t do that without your help!
Many thanks to all of the new and experienced volunteers who came out to join us, and keep a look out for our next volunteer orientation. It’s a great way to develop a better understanding of our organization and meet fellow volunteers! To register as a volunteer, visit our site and to find out more about serving as an outreach ambassador, driver, or ride-along helper, get in touch at email@example.com. Also dont forget to check out our new calender feature to see what gleaning events are coming up, we still have a few months of gleaning left!