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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Gleaners, Rotarians host 24-hour marathon to help feed those in need 

by Garrett Fodor

On Friday, the Southwestern Ontario Gleaners and 11 local Rotary Clubs came together to participate in a 24-hour food prep marathon. The clubs had a collective goal to help feed the hungry and those in need locally and internationally.

  The Rotarians worked in 20-person, two-hour long shifts, where volunteers cut, cleaned, dehydrated, and packaged soup mix for distribution to relief agencies and those in need. Each of the 11 Clubs were responsible for finding people to fill shifts. 

  The idea for the marathon came from Rotarian Bob Morand.

  “Rotary has been involved with Gleaners for two years, just doing two hour shifts every couple of months, so a bunch of Rotarians came together and said, ‘hey, let’s do a marathon and let’s make it 24 hours,’” Windsor-Roseland Rotarian Paula Talbot said. “Although this is our first time doing an event like this, we hope to continue to do it for years to come. We’d like to even grow it into a friendly sort of competition with other clubs and organizations” 

  Still looking to help the Gleaners, Talbot pledged to be there for the entire 24-hour event. She also collected pledges for months leading up to the event in order to buy the beans and split peas needed for the soup mix. She said her biggest joy is helping those in need and she does not mind losing sleep over it. 

  “We are hoping to produce over 170,000 servings from the marathon. The next shipment is going to the Ukraine and Uganda,” Tina Quiring said, who is the Southwestern Ontario Gleaners Chairperson. “We take unmarketable produce that would normally go into the landfill and with the help of hundreds of volunteers, we make nutritious soup mix out of it.”

  Quiring noted the Southwestern Ontario Gleaners are grateful to Talbot and for the support of all Rotarians and members of the community who took part in and supported the event. Last year, the Gleaners produced almost 4-million servings to feed the hungry.

  Quiring said with the help of the Rotarians at the marathon, it is hoped Gleaners will be able to surpass the 4-million serving count for this year. 

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