LETTER: Coming clean about gleaning

I am a gleaner, one who goes through the recycling bins, dumpsters, scrap piles and dumps, and gathers what is left lying about.


I am a gleaner, one who goes through the recycling bins, dumpsters, scrap piles and dumps, and gathers what is left lying about.

I belong to a loosely organized group that has fallen through the cracks. We are the homeless, disabled, on social assistance or limited income and are below the poverty line.

We are trying to organize ourselves in a small way to help each other and are falling short of adequate support and provisions, such as low cost rentals, vision, dental care and other necessities.

Today gleaning is practiced by humanitarian groups, which distribute the gleaned food to the poor and hungry.

In a modern context, this can include the collection of excess or outdated food from supermarkets at the end of the day that would otherwise be thrown away.

There are a number of organizations that practice gleaning to resolve issues of societal hunger.

We are the faces of poverty, trying to help one another and find ourselves prevented to do so at every turn.

Being attacked at every attempt of accomplishing this end, we would like you to leave us alone when you see us trying to aid the needy. Don’t turn a blind eye, turn a compassionate one. Contact you local politician and ask why this is left to the gleaners.

Most, if not all the money from recycling goes to corporations, government or government-funded organizations, while the homeless and  disadvantaged, if not categorized as essential, fall by the wayside. So the needy are excluded from most support.

The recycling at the reuse centre at the city dump is destroyed every week because of limited space. The poor are short-changed, especially those who cannot make their way to the dump reuse centre.

You may think that harassing and incarcerating us will change our efforts to help us reach economic parity with civilized society. Think again!

Mel Bell, Grand Forks

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