Being good stewards of our money is biblical. When I survey readers for topics that are important to them, finances is always a leading subject. I thought I’d share my experiences with gleaners and harvest for saving money.
Gleaners – Organizations pick up close to or expired items, dented cans, day old bread, damaged bags, etc. They’re taken to food banks and warehouses for distribution.
Where I live the gleaners program is set up in a warehouse and is designed for low income families. You pay a monthly fee depending on your income and family size. For our family of 6 we paid about $47 a month. Every week, we went during certain hours on Wednesdays or Thursdays to shop the warehouse.
It was set up somewhat like a grocery store. We were allowed certain amounts of canned items, dairy, produce, bread, and miscellaneous. I always left with a very full grocery cart worth more than $100 in food. One week we were allowed to take an entire case of frozen pie crusts. Other times we could take as many rolls of wrapping paper as we wanted. There were always extras and surprises. Once in a while they’d even have dog and cat food.
There were a few cons to gleaners. They were only open two days a week during very specific hours, like 4-7pm or 12-3. It was about 25 miles from home. It usually took two hours to stand in line and shop, so it was a time consuming event. Since we live where it rains and the line formed outside the warehouse, you might end up soaking wet before you ever made it into the building. Not so much fun if you have four little ones with you. Food choices are limited to what is there so if you have a restricted diet, this won’t be cost effective.
Harvest – An organization is offered the last of the harvest in the fields. They contact folks who are willing to come out to the fields and harvest the left over produce. At our harvest you pick half for yourself and half for the food bank. Where we live this is free, so your only cost is your physical labor.
The only con is not knowing until the last minute when there will be a harvest, but if you can get in on this it could be HUGE savings for your family.
To find out if your area has a gleaners or harvest program, you can call the local food bank. They are your best resource for this info because it’s their job to know who is serving their communities in this way.
If you’ve got the time to invest, these two programs can fill your fridge, pantry, and freezer for very little to no cost.
Have you ever done either of these things? Does your area offer something similar? Feel free to share in the comments. If you found this article helpful, please feel free to like and share it.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5