Heartside Gleaning Initiative

May 19, 2018

You can help on Saturdays to distribute food collected from the downtown Farmers Market to poor residents in the downtown area.  See more specific information below.

Here is the link that includes all of the gleaning dates for 2018 and the sign up form:


Gleaning Instructions:

We meet at 1:30 p.m. in the gated parking lot at Guiding Light Mission, 255 Division Ave S, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. We ensure that there are enough drivers for everyone to ride with someone, as some volunteers do not have cars. We usually make do with only 2-3 cars as we usually have only 7 -10 people. T-shirts are provided on the day of gleaning to identify us. These are returned at the end of the day.


We then drive to the Fulton St. Farmer’s Market. We try to set up with our truck at an empty booth, if there is one, otherwise we just park our truck in a regular parking space.


You will be assigned a specific section of the market and a team leader to glean with. Most of the farmers know us by now and expect us. We take a large number of plastic produce bins and walk up and down, greeting the farmers and asking if they have anything for us. IT’S VERY IMPORTANT NOT TO INTERRUPT OR IN ANY WAY INTERFERE WITH A CUSTOMER TRANSACTION. If the farmer says “yes” we leave a bin or two and return in about 5-10 minutes to pick it up. Sometimes the farmers bring full boxes to us in the parking lot. We get A LOT each week, 700-1000 pounds, so it’s a lot of lifting and moving of heavy boxes. We weigh and record who donated what.


Afterwards we distribute it in a variety of ways. We start at Guiding Light Mission where neighborhood residents select produce from the bins we set out. Whatever is left we take to God’s Kitchen, Dégagé, The Other Way and/or UCOM on Chicago Drive.


We are done by 4 or 4:30. So, it’s about 3 hours every Saturday. There is a core group that goes most weeks (there are 3 neighborhood residents that go every week) and then a variety of other people that come and go whenever they are available.