Story in Brief
The overall health of Appling County citizens is below the state and national averages. As one of the 11 counties chosen to receive funding from Healthcare Georgia Foundation Two Georgias Initiative, Appling County formed the Coalition for a Healthy Appling County in 2017. Two of the goals are to empower all Appling County residents to eat a healthy diet, and to empower all Appling County residents to be physically active. As chair of the Healthy Eating Committee, the UGA Extension agent helped support the establishment of a Gleaning Program, which gives volunteers the opportunity to gather leftover produce after a harvest to donate to those in need. This project addresses both goals by providing fresh produce to limited income individuals and families, and promotes physical activity to those who glean. In addition, it has helped foster community and a sense of belonging among the volunteers who enjoy working together for a good cause. Ten farmers from Appling and surrounding counties have been involved by donating produce that was left after the harvest. One farmer has donated an acre of his land to plant a garden just for this project. Nine volunteers have been trained to be field supervisors. Fifty-nine volunteers have gleaned, with a total of 383 volunteer hours, with a value of $10,417. Some of the volunteers included 4-H’ers, clients from the Appling County Senior Center and Pineland Adult Mental Health Service Center. In total, 33,992 pounds of produce and 650 pounds of pork, equaling 34,642 pounds of fresh food, have been donated to feed limited income citizens of Appling and surrounding counties. According to America’s Second Harvest, the dollar value of these donations equal $34,642.