From left, Bob Jones, LocalShare Volunteer of the Year Brian Jones, Gene (Genevieve) Jones and LocalShare Coordinator Christine Parauda.

We at the Foodshed Alliance’s LocalShare program recently had the privilege of recognizing a very special volunteer who we have come to love and rely on at Longmeadow Farm.

Brian Jones is a 13-year-old volunteer from Frelinghuysen who has made a difference to our community. Throughout the last growing season, Brian and his dad, Bob, volunteered at our apple gleanings* at Longmeadow Farm in Columbia, almost every Monday.

Brian, who is homeschooled, fills a very special role at the gleanings. First, he helps welcome volunteers and get them on board with the way we work. He carefully explains that gleaners can fill bushel baskets and brings a wagon to pick them up and offer empty baskets for filling. He then delivers the apples to where they are boxed up and helps box them when necessary.

“We have watched Brian grow over the last 3 years and, while we are glad for his increased strength and ability to get the job done, we are most grateful for his kind ways,” says Christine Parauda, LocalShare coordinator. “His kindness and youthful attitude reminds all our volunteers how lucky we are to work together–all ages and stages in life–learning, laughing and spending time together all while working to feed our hungry neighbors.

“For many children in our community who have so much, the notion of being hungry isn’t always easy to grasp and yet, Brian comes each week ready to work and sharing his spirit with us in the most wonderful ways.”

At a recent meeting for LocalShare volunteers, Brian was honored as LocalShare 2017 Volunteer of the Year. The Foodshed Alliance is grateful to Brian and his parents, Bob and Gene, for their support of our work.

*Gleaning is an ancient tradition dating back to the Old Testament of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields (after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest) to distribute to those in need.