Village Harvest

Souper Bowl- Giving a can of Soup and a card this Sunday – the Gift of Life

Why give ?

A sermon by the Rev. Evan Garner highlighted why Church food ministries are so important in our time:

“Because feeding them is our job. As followers of Jesus, it is our calling to feed these people, indeed to feed all hungry people. The kind of people who left their homes to walk out into the wilderness and hike up a mountain to see Jesus are the kind of people who were desperate to be fed. Some of them may not have needed physical nourishment, but most of them did. For most of them, their spiritual crisis was born out of an economic crisis. We know that because usually the kind of people who had enough on their own weren’t very interested in Jesus. The rich and the powerful ignored him or laughed at him or, sometimes, plotted against him.”

“It is our job as the leaders of the church, as the stewards of the resources entrusted to us by God and by our parish, to count costs and estimate resources. But it is never our job as the people of God to allow an attitude of scarcity to overcome a theology of abundance. “

The Village Harvest addresses the Food Insecurity issue in surrounding counties and is one our key ministries. The definition of Food insecure is “these households who not have access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.”

Food insecure is not the same as poverty. Many of those in poverty are not food insecure though poverty is one cause of food insecurity.

There is a “poverty circle” just south of Port Royal in the direction of Fort A.P. Hill (map from Virginia Community Food Connections):

Food insecurity is associated with numerous adverse social and health outcomes and is increasingly considered a critical public health issue. Key drivers of food insecurity include unemployment, poverty, and income shocks, which can prevent adequate access to food. Figures for food insecurity are expressed as a percentage of the population.

Here is the data for the local counties which we serve from Feeding America. There have been significant improvesments in all counties since 2017 except for Westmoreland. Half of the local area is still above Virginia in food insecurity:

2020 2017
County % %
Caroline 7.4% 11.3%
Essex 11.0% 14.0%
Westmoreland 10.7% 10.8%
King George 5.6% 8.1%
Virginia as a whole 7.7% 10.2%

St. Peter’s spends about $2000 a year on food purchased from the Healthy Harvest Food Bank for the Village Harvest. Please give generously this Sunday. Thanks!

Village Harvest in 2022

The Village Harvest grew in 2022 both in numbers and food.  The number of people served rose from 999 to 1,051  and pounds of food from 14,303 to 15,302. The percentages of growth are 5% for people and 7% for food.  This compared to 2019 (8%) and 3% for people and food respectively. (The 2019 harvest had only 11 periods and thus the numbers were annualized for the comparison). Additionally, the positive growth in both people and food had not occurred together since 2016.

One comparison is reviewing the Harvest is to consider. pounds per person. In 2022  it was 14.6 pounds closely followed in 2021 at 14.32. The 2022 figures not only posted an increase but are the best in the 8 year history of the harvest!  Another achievement in 2022 was going over 10,000 people served over the lifetime of the Harvest

Thanks goes out to Eunice Key one of the originators of the program and who provide the name, “Village Harvest”.  The success of the harvest is due to volunteers like Eunice and Cookie and Johnny Davis who have delivered food from the Healthy Harvest Food bank month after month as well as Jim and Elizabeth Heimbach.  Kudos also go out to our current director Andrea Pogue who has contributed many pictures to display the Harvest.

Giving Tuesday, 2022 results

The 2022 collection on Giving Tuesday of $1,175 exceeded teh 2021 total of $899. This should help to pay for 5-6 months of the Village Harvest in 2023. We serve about 190 people a month. Wonderful!

Also at the end November, the United Thank Offering collection was $484.73, rolling past November, 2021’s total of $268.87. The UTO is one of the oldest women’s ministry. Here is a short article on the UTO.

From a recent article in Episcopal News Network. “Practicing gratitude can be “a truly transformative thing,” UTO Board President Sherri Dietrich told ENS, since it helps people focus on what they have instead of what they might be lacking. “It just makes your life happier,” she said, and that can have an impact on others. “I really believe gratitude is one of those things that changes a circle of the world around you and can spread from there.”

Rev. Heather Melton, UTO staff officer called practicing gratitude “a healthy and important practice” and added that gratitude is sorely needed today. “We live in a time where people feel disconnected. Gratitude is one way to notice not only the thing someone is doing for you but also the connection we have with that person. Gratitude is a reminder that we need each other, from the person who makes your coffee to your best friend.”

Thanks to all who contributed!

Giving Tuesday, Nov. 29 – the background

Why give ?

The Village Harvest addresses the Food Insecurity issue in surrounding counties and is one our key ministries. Food insecure definition – These households to not have access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.

Food insecure is not the same as poverty. Many of those in poverty are not food insecure though poverty is one cause of food insecurity.

Food insecurity is associated with numerous adverse social and health outcomes and is increasingly considered a critical public health issue. Key drivers of food insecurity include unemployment, poverty, and income shocks, which can prevent adequate access to food. Figures for food insecurity are expressed as a percentage of the population.

Here is the data for the local counties which we serve:

County %
Caroline 7.4%
Essex 11.0%
Westmoreland 10.7%
King George 5.6%
   
Virginia as a whole 7.7%

St. Peter’s spends about $2000 a year on food purchased from the Healthy Harvest Food Bank for the Village Harvest.

Our goal is to raise $500 or about 25% during Giving Tuesday.

Thanks to the generosity of St Peter’s, not only are we able to provide food, but Catherine has also been able to use her discretionary fund to help these people in other ways.  

During the first  11 months of 2022, we have fed 970 people compared to 898 in the previous year during the same period.  The amount of food provided is about the same – 13,834 pounds for 2022 and 13,292 for 2021. Pounds per person, however, were higher in 2021 at 14.80 compared with 14.26 in the current year

You can give at this link which has the mail and online address for Village Tuesday.. Many thanks for your help!

Village Harvest Anniversary

Village Harvest. concluded our 8th year, Nov. 16~

Psalm 107:37 “And sow fields and plant vineyards, And gather a fruitful harvest.”

The Village Harvest ends its 8th year in November. The October, 2014 newsletter read as follows ” In an effort to make fresh food more available to those in our area in need of food, the ECW is going to head up a new project. Credit goes to Eunice for conceiving the name “Village Harvest.”

St Peter’s provides an opportunity for people in the area to come get fresh produce, meat, and assorted non-perishable items on the third Wednesday of each month.   The offerings change from month to month, depending on what’s available at the food bank. 

Thanks to the generosity of St Peter’s, not only are we able to provide food, but Catherine has also been able to use her discretionary fund to help these people in other ways.  

During the first  11 months of 2022, we have fed 970 people compared to 898 in the previous year during the same period.  The amount of food provided is about the same – 13,834 pounds for 2022 and 13,292 for 2021. Pounds per person, however, were higher in 2021 at 14.80 compared with 14.26 in the current year

Over the past 8 years we have distributed 107,822 pounds of food  for 9,978 people  or 10.8 pounds per person.

Village Harvest, 9 months 2022 boosts totals over 2021

Through, Sept 2022, St. Peter’s has fed 794 people exceeding the 9 month period in 2021 which saw 723 come to the Harvest. Food distributed has been less, however, at 10,848 vs. 10,976 pounds, a 1.1% decline.  Pounds per person fell in the last year from 15.2 to 13.7.  However, 13.7 is still ahead of the years before 2020.

The  selections of food was concentrated in produce 35%, grocery 31% and meat 34%. The produce percentage was the largest since May at 43% 1,089 pounds were distributed in Sept.  compared to 915 in August, the low for 2022.  1,089 pounds is still under the 12 month average of 1,181.

Village Harvest, Aug 17 serves 89 people from 4 counties

August surged ahead of last month feeding 89 people compared to 74.  It was just above the average number per month of 88 in 2022.  Clients were from 4 counties, Caroline, King  George,  Westmoreland, and Essex. It was above 70 clients in August, 2019, the year before the pandemic.

Pounds of food for August at 915 were below the average of 1219 for 2022. Pound per person at 10.30 was the lowest figure since January. Elizabeth Heimbach reports, “For the first time that I can remember, there is nothing to take to Social Services! The freezer, the refrigerator, and the coolers are empty. The blue berries, corn, and meat were very welcome.” (Last month there was sizeable amount left over which they give to social service). Pounds per person has been 13.82 in 2022 for 8 months (For 2021 as a whole it was slightly higher at 14.32/)

The food in April was 21% produce, 71% grocery and 8% meat. (A year ago produce was higher at 33% and meat higher at 17%.)

For the year we have served 706 people for the first 8 months compared to 640 for the same period last year. The food available last year was 10,179 pounds compared to 9,759 this year or 420 pounds less. Pounds per person for the year has also been less this year at 13.82 vs. 15.90 last year.

Village Harvest, July 2022 – What happened?

When we look back in July and over recent years, the trends from June to July show either a steady increase or a sizeable drop. There is no consistency between years.

We had 74 people visit the harvest in July.  That was  a significant drop from 96 in June.  In 2021, the number from June to July  was actually up from 70 to 80 reflecting an increase. 2020 was a pandemic year. In 2019 the number of clients fell from 130 to 101. The year before there was an increase from 100 to 119. So it’s  “all over the place.” For the year 2022 is just above 2021, 617 to 615 but the difference between the years has been decreasing.

The real value is in the food provided – and that is up . We distributed 1,254 pounds of food, the largest distribution since March. The year it is 8,841 pounds for 2022 vs 8,718 for 2021. Pounds per client were up monthly from 14.18 to 14.33. The last full year was 2019 which was only 12 pounds. Similarly, the value per client at $6 a pound averaged from  $86 to $88 monthly during the period. It was $81 in 2019, the last full year. 

One positive is the composition of the foods. Produce shot up from 9% to 34%. In 2019 and 2021 it was comparable at 36%.  Meat was the main change at 19% in July, 2022 compared to 15% in 2021 and 7% in 2019

Village Harvest – Behind the scenes, June 2022

We sometimes forget there is more than one team that makes the Village Harvest happen. These pictures were taken at the Healthy Harvest Food Bank in Montross on June 14, 2022, one day before the Harvest on June 15, 3pm to 5pm

The facility is modern. The picture shows the facility powered by solar panel. The food is gathered and this month placed in Helmut’s truck. (Cookie and Johnny who usually do this leg were away Wisconsin).

Thanks to Denise, Catherine, Andrea and Helmut who helped to gather the food i

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