A Community Partner Perspective

"Working as a health care provider, it is common to talk to our patients about the benefits of a healthy diet.  Unfortunately for many, this is easier said than done..."


"In a society where it is much easier and cheaper to feed a family by pulling up to the fast food drive-in rather than the produce aisle at the grocery store, I can understand the frustrations our patients feel when we preach about following a 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day plan. Some of the arguments do seem like excuses, yet many of the explanations make sense. Many of our patients and families are struggling financially. Many of them work long hours and have difficulty having the time to prepare their own meals.

So when I learned about The Gleaning Project in Adams County, I felt a degree of hope that we may be able to offer some help to our patients.  I knew it wouldn’t solve all of their struggles and challenges, but maybe it would introduce someone to flavors and tastes they may not have been motivated to try before.  Maybe it would be a treat for someone who loves fresh fruit, but couldn’t afford to have it on their table that day.  Maybe it would offer some relief to someone in the middle of winter that there was a little something extra to cook with that week.

We became a Gleaning Project Community Partner in Spring 2014 at our Family First Health office in Gettysburg.  We had several days throughout the summer and fall where we would set up our own form of a vegetable/ fruit stand and offer produce to patients as they would leave their appointments. While not all patients participated, the ability to offer something healthy and grown right in our area felt good.

So many times our patients walk out the door with a prescription to help fix their problems: here we are sending patients home with healthy and nutritious foods. Food that is equally, if not more important in combating chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.

On the flip side, I also had the opportunity to volunteer for The Gleaning Project on a few occasions.  What a wonderful group of people involved!  From the local farmers and businesses to the volunteers who put in their time and energy to glean fields at a moment’s notice, it truly embodies the idea of neighbors taking care of neighbors. Living in Adams County, we are able to enjoy the beauty and bounty of the area, and this project helps to appreciate those elements.


I have brought my daughters on a few of the gleans, in the hopes that they will learn and appreciate the privilege of the food we have on our tables and that it is a blessing to be able to share this with others.  They are young and may not understand this completely yet, but are thankful for the insight and hard work of others that make this program possible."

Mauss girls rberries 1