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Farmers with leftover produce or “seconds” in Delmarva now have another option for use thanks to the Society of St. Andrew, the largest gleaning agency in the country. 

Hoping to end hunger one field at a time, the mission seems simple: “The Society of St. Andrew brings people together to harvest and share healthy food, reduce food waste, and build caring communities by offering nourishment to hungry neighbors.”

In reality, it takes farmers and community members working together to accomplish the goal of ending hunger. In Delmarva in 2023, the organization gleaned and distributed 1,252,792 pounds of food through December. According to the website, they engaged 90 recipient agencies and partners throughout the year, along with 372 volunteers. The Society of St. Andrew held 158 events to rescue and share food and shared 5,011,168 servings of fresh food thanks to everyone’s collective efforts. 

Delmarva Program Coordinator Brenda Mahan takes this mission personally and travels all over the Delmarva peninsula to ensure the organization reaches its goals. 

For Mahan, she said it’s about “. . .the feeling you get being able to distribute food. It’s really an awesome feeling.”

The organization is now expanding its operations in the Delmarva area by searching for volunteers, partnering organizations and participating farmers. 

“My job is to make those connections,” Mahan said. “Normally, when a farmer calls, we can be there within 24 hours to take care of the need and glean from the farm. Once we get there, we weigh everything we glean so farmers can use it for tax purposes. Everything we harvest goes directly to charities and people in need of food. If you’ll let us in your field, we want everything, even the ugly stuff.”

Kent County Farm Bureau President Jim Minner and Vice President David Marvel have both offered produce from their farms and helped Mahan connect with other farmers in the area. 

“Gleaning is traditionally going to the fields and picking up what’s leftover or picking up what’s leftover that isn’t being used. Some groups have tried gleaning in the past but were never successful because it takes a lot of labor and organization. I thought it was intriguing that Brenda has been so successful in her work,” Marvel said. “The good thing about it is that the food doesn’t go to waste. I was able to start shifting watermelons and other produce around with her help. It’s similar to food bank programs, but it’s more about picking up even small amounts that some people think are insignificant. They’ll pick it all up, even seconds.”

Marvel said he was impressed with the networking Mahan and her team does for the Society of St. Andrew, a needed component for a successful gleaning organization. 

“Those kinds of organizations rely on relationship building and Brenda has been tremendously good at that. They’re out there, willing to work and coordinate, even bringing in some of their partners to help with distribution,” Marvel explained. “They’re not trying to compete with the food banks or other organizations. They’re trying to help complete them. The only line they worry about is the hunger line.”

In the last year, Minner was also able to support the Society of St. Andrews by offering 760 lbs. of potatoes. The group also visited his farming operation in February to glean ¼ acre of turnips from his fields. 

“When they came in and got those potatoes, they were immediately in food servers’ hands that day being produced for meals. I would say anybody that has excess produce should go through them,” Minner said. 

Minner was first introduced to the nonprofit through Marvel. In kind, he then introduced the group to other farmers who have been able to support the mission. 

“For example, a friend of mine in Woodside was throwing away excess stuff from his stand. This year, the Society of St. Andrew got 1,200 lbs. of produce from him instead. It wasn’t really stuff you could sell off the stand, but through the Society, it went straight to a local senior center and was consumed instantly as soon as it got there. It’s a great organization that’s providing a lot of food aid to local groups that provide meals to people who either just can’t afford it or don’t have access to it. And they’re readily willing to come and get anything you’ve got. As long as it’s good, they want it.”

Interested farmers and volunteers should visit for more information or to sign up for future opportunities. The Delmarva program can also be reached by emailing

Post Author: Mikayla Paul

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