The purpose of this project is to address the volunteer needs of the Heartside Gleaning Initiative, a nonprofit organization founded by Grand Valley State University professor Lisa Sisson. The mission of the Heartside Gleaning Initiative is to “empower the Heartside community to become healthier through nutrition education and improving accessibility of healthy foods” (Heartside, 2014). Members of the Heartside Gleaning Initiative are currently working to give people living in the Heartside community of Grand Rapids access to fresh produce. Volunteers glean the produce from local farmers at the Fulton Street Farmers Market and then deliver it to shelters in the Heartside neighborhood. This work is also a part of a larger goal to fight the national issue of food insecurity, which affects millions of people living in the United States.

For this project, our group chose to focus on volunteer recruitment. Volunteers are the backbone of the Heartside Gleaning Initiative and a necessary component for the work being done. We have begun to work with several Grand Rapids schools and local churches in the Heartside neighborhood to generate awareness about the initiative and to try and fill this need for volunteers. The organization specifically needs a core group of four to five volunteers who can consistently work with the initiative. Though we have generated interest among community members to volunteer for a weekend, we struggled to establish this core group of leaders. This proved to be our biggest challenge with the project, and finding a group of leaders will continue to be a task for the initiative in the future, though we have several suggestions that may help their efforts.

The final goal for this project was to provide the Heartside Gleaning Initiative with recruitment materials. We recreated a pamphlet for the organization to give to potential volunteers. It includes information about the goals and the mission of the organization and contact information. It can be used to generate awareness and knowledge about the Heartside Gleaning Initiative. We also provided the organization with a list of the local churches and schools with interested members. We hope the initiative will be able to use these materials to continue to recruit a stable group of volunteers.