Posted by Colin Heggie on Dec 03, 2019
North Okanagan Valley Gleaners board chair Brad Egerton was hosted by Marty Armstrong.  One of about a half dozen Canadian gleaner societies, the NOV group has now been operating for ten years.  In 2018, they collected 1.2m lbs of donated vegetables, which after processing, drying & mixing by 300 volunteers, produced dried soup mix for 7m meals, at a cost of C$0.02 per meal !  Large batches of soup mix are provided to a select group of vetted organizations, which organize & supply shipping to recipients in the Caribbean, Ukraine, North Korea & other needy destinations.  With the help of more mechanized processes, & more volunteers, NOVG hopes to increase production to 13m meals per annum.  The Canada-wide goal is 100m meals.  New gleaner societies are expected to open in Calgary & Montreal, but perhaps more importantly, a “test” society in Bolivia will hopefully begin production in a location close to where product is needed.  NOVG also collects serviceable used medical equipment for shipment overseas.  In the past five years, C$30m worth of used goods, at 20% of their original cost, have been recycled – again, using partner organizations to ship & distribute.  Both soup mix & medical supply operations, based in their donated rural Lavington facility, are partially funded by income from the Gleaner’s used furniture & appliance store, which relies on donated goods & volunteer labour.  The store also supplies free furniture & appliances to selected needy local families.  Our members may visit NOVG’s Lavington facility in the new year.  Meanwhile, any SS Rotarians interested in joining a small group of volunteers are asked to contact Colin.