After a few minutes of chatting with Jennifer Erena, you'll want to grow fruits and vegetables for hungry families.
Erena is executive director of Faith Feeds/GleanKy, an organization whose goal is to help alleviate hunger in the Bluegrass. It only takes one question to get Erena to reveal her passion for helping needy families get fresh, healthy foods on their dinner tables.
Gleaning connects people who grow fruits and vegetables with people who can pick them up and then deliver the produce to churches, organizations and neighborhoods where the food is distributed to needy families.
Since 2010, 207,000 pounds of fresh produce have been saved from becoming waste and redirected to dinner tables.
The group is offering an opportunity for the community to learn about the process of gleaning — which allows thousands of pounds of fresh produce to be used and not wasted — at its first major fundraising event, Burgers and Beats, at 5 p.m. Sunday.
The event will include an evening of food, music by Silverback, and family games. It will be at Wallace Station, 3854 Old Frankfort Pike, Versailles.
"Fifty percent of the produce grown in America is never eaten," Erena said. "It's hard to do something with that produce very quickly to prevent it from being wasted. Farmers don't have to look for a place to donate, we get volunteers to do the labor it takes to save this produce and we redirect it to people in need."
Volunteers pick up leftover fruits and vegetables at the end of the market day, deliver it to distribution sites and then it's taken directly to feeding sites or neighborhoods.
Also, workers go to orchards such as Reed Valley in Paris to pick up fruit that has fallen off the trees.
"We enjoy being able to share the fruit we have, especially with people in need," Trudie Reed said. "Faith Feeds gives us the opportunity to do that.
"It is especially rewarding to see so many volunteers come out and give their time to help us share what God has allowed us to grow on our farm. Many years we have been abundantly blessed and we feel the need to share with those in need."
Reed added, "This year is beginning to look like a good year (for the apple crop), however last year we lost 50 percent of our crop, but we were still able to share with Faith Feeds."
If you go
Faith Feeds' Burgers and Beats
When: 5 to 8 p.m. July 21, rain or shine.
Where: Wallace Station, 3854 Old Frankfort Pike, Versailles
Tickets: $25 adults, $10 ages 8-12, free for children 7 and younger
Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: Flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com