We continue to stand in awe of the volunteers that support our work and drive our mission forward at our farms and orchards. Their selfless work results in the hundreds of thousands of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables that we are able to donate throughout our community. Even when the going gets rough and Mother Nature challenges our work this group of hearty volunteers come out in force proving their commitment to the cause. This year approximately 8,500 people served over 26,000 hours to help the hunger relief network by helping to plant, grow, harvest and package our fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables. It’s not easy work but this hearty group continues to make Community Harvest Project run like a well oiled machine.
These diverse volunteers come from all corners of Worcester County and beyond and range from preschool age to senior citizens. They work together and are able to help us maintain a welcoming and fun environment. We hosted almost 2,000 school children who are learning about the power of helping within the community and the impact that it can have on themselves and others. Our 12 Volunteer Board Members work tirelessly in guiding and supporting the organization as we continue to hone our operation and plan our future. Our college interns this year came to us from Holy Cross, Clark University, Framingham State, UMass Amherst, Unity College, University of Rochester and Kansas State along with one high school student from Worcester Academy. These 15 students had deep impacts in programming and volunteer operations and we are very appreciative of their help and were sad to see them go. We count on the great group leaders that help to organize visits to the farm from their respective organizations and could not do this work without their partnership. We also could not be successful without the countless teachers, professors, chaperones, program managers, troop leaders and parents who offer support to our volunteers. Our event volunteers are key to running successful Plantapalooza and Harvest Home events and this year we counted them in the hundreds. Without all of these key players working on our behalf we would be a shadow of ourselves. All of this illustrates the power of a community coming together to help others and we are thankful to be the recipients of all this energy.
If you have ever been on one of our farms, however, there is one group within the organization that we rely on to make our operation seamless. In 2017 we had 58 Volunteer Team Leaders representing us in the fields and orchards. These volunteers work on the front line and are the key in making sure that each and every volunteer has a good experience. From the very beginning of planting season until we are all cleaned up and ready for winter our Team Leaders answer the call and do an amazing job representing Community Harvest Project to our volunteers. Always ready with a welcoming smile and can do attitude our Team Leaders are awesome, if you have been to our farms and orchards you know exactly what we are talking about and have experienced their commitment first hand.
For December we would like to sincerely thank and celebrate the community of volunteers that comes together to make Community Harvest Project what it is. Without this amazing community of volunteers there would be no Community Harvest Project. Coming from near and far and working together for the benefit of our community is powerful work. We are honored and humbled that you have selected us to spend your valuable time volunteering with. We are thankful that you have been the advocates to help get the word out about the work that we do at our farms and orchards. We would to thank you for all that you have done in 2017 to make it another successful year in supporting our community, we really appreciate each and every one of you.