End Hunger

Photos by Patti Donnelly

Photos by Patti Donnelly

My grandfather, Dr. Ralph Cummings, was a farmer from Reidsville, North Carolina. He graduated first in his class at Reidsville High School in 1928. Growing up, he was my grandfather of course, but I always knew he was known for his contribution to the Green Revolution that fed millions of people worldwide. He made the connection between what some North Carolina farmers were facing with what developing countries were up against. He had a vision.

He went from Raleigh, North Carolina to Peru and then developed a system that made it possible to grow crops during the monsoon season while working with the Rockefeller Foundation in India. My grandfather “arranged the first import of high-yielding wheat varieties (developed by his colleague, Dr. Norman Borlaug, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for that contribution) which transformed India’s agriculture.” Perspectives  The year I was born, he returned to NC State as a professor before heading the international crop research institutes in the Philippines and India. ICRISAT My grandfather received the International Agricultural Service Award from the American Society of Agronomy and the 1988 Presidential End Hunger Award from USAID.

I always wanted to do what he did. I was not sure how, but I wanted to use my knowledge or strengths to change lives. I do not have a green thumb as much as he tried to share his back yard garden expertise. However, even the smallest of acts make a difference. At Durham Academy, we are fortunate to be able to spend time giving back to our community. Yesterday we traveled almost an hour to a field in Fuquay Varina to glean sweet potatoes. The students were told that this practice is thousands of years old. Food was left behind for those who perhaps needed it most. Much of what we see in grocery stores has to be a perfect size or shape. Food is food.

DSC_9414Student gleaning sweet potato left behind from the harvest

We spent almost two hours searching for delicious sweet potatoes that would be trucked to several local churches and a food bank in Durham, NC. One potato, the size of the one pictured above, can feed two people. It takes a team of dedicated volunteers and community members to make this happen. We are grateful to the Society of St. Andrew for creating this opportunity for young and old to give back. http://endhunger.org/ I am not leading an institute like my grandfather, but I am modeling what learning and giving back can do for not only yourself but your neighbor and the world ~ one decision and one person at a time. What will you decide to do with your time and talent today?



Community Service – Gleaning

DSC_4272sweet potatoPhotos by Patti Donnelly

What happens to leftover food in the fields? On Wednesday, 48 6th graders rode an hour from school to an open field in North Carolina. In about two hours we gleaned 4,230 pounds of sweet potatoes that would have gone to waste. We worked with the Society of St. Andrew-NC who distributed 4,000 pounds to New Focus Community Mission in Enfield, North Carolina, and 230 pounds to individuals in need.

DSC_4290 bags of potatoes 2013

A donation of $20 will provide one person with the USDA recommended requirement of vegetables and fruits every day for two months. Checks can be made out to the Society of St. Andrew and mailed to: P.O.Box 25081 Durham, NC 27702-5081.  Or you can donate online.

DSC_4341 BrandonCaveny 2013

DSC_4375 IsabellaStrauss 2013


What are you doing to help our community?

Community Service by Sylvia

Photo by Mrs. Donnelly

I did gleaning on community service day, and it was really fun. Franny and I filled at least 60 bags of sweet potatoes. When we first got there, I was like, “The fields are huge!” but we only went gleaning on one of them (which was the bigger one). Only a few seconds in and I hear Franny screaming, “Sylvia, look at this one, it’s huge!” when I was just opening the bag. Within the first five minutes, we had three bags filled and in the truck. Within an hour, we had about 35 bags filled. I lost track after twelve bags. I didn’t know we were going to get that many, and some people got over 100. When we had to leave I felt good about how many bags Franny and I filled, and I was also really thirsty!

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Potato Gleaning by Nathan

At our school we have a community service day every so often. What we do are things such as helping at the Ronald McDonald house, making sandwiches for people in need, or what I did, go sweet potato gleaning. Gleaning is where you go into a field and pick up the leftover food that wasn’t harvested by the big machines. The food that would have otherwise gone to waste, goes to hungry people around us. It is quite amazing how much food goes to waste in those fields but also how much we saved was awesome too! Two and a half tons were gleaned. We decided to split up into groups in the beginning and Michael, Keenan, Jack, and Matthew were in my group. All together we harvested 105 bags meaning we each got 21 bags. Each bag weighed ten pounds which means our group alone harvested 1050 pounds of sweet potatoes going to needy people! In the end all of us felt good about what we did during the day.

Photo by Mrs. Donnelly

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